Proprietary Controls and Fiamm Sodium Electric Batteries
Allow for Collection Route Service of Up to 60 Miles Per Day
Motiv Power Systems is to unveil North America’s first fully battery-electric, fully functional garbage truck, operated by the City of Chicago, at Calstart’s HTUF meeting in Chicago next week.
It’s another step in a U.S. DoE-supported strategy to bring down the cost of the electric refuse vehicle, as Motiv is to supply Chicago with as many as 20 ERVs, priced on a sliding scale with unit cost dropping as the fleet grows (F&F, March 4, 2013).
“This first truck was $1.3 million,” says Motiv founder and CEO Jim Castelaz. For unit number ten, he told F&F, Motiv is committed to $500,000. That’s still roughly double the price of a diesel truck, but operators get a quiet vehicle that burns no fuel and emits zero tailpipe pollution.
Additional Cities Are Welcome
Other cities are welcome to join in the Chicago purchase scheme. This, Castelaz says, “will bring the price of the truck down for everybody involved.”
The Crane Carrier chassis truck features Motiv’s modular ePCS plug-and-play electric Powertrain Control System, a software-centric approach that allows EV designers to mix and match, and easily swap out, key driveline components like motors and controllers and batteries. The Motiv ERV for Chicago was converted locally by Cumberland Servicenter.
The vehicle has 200 kilowatt-hours of energy capacity in ten packs employing high-temperature (and thus effectively weather-impervious) sodium nickel batteries from Fiamm SoNick. The batteries can be fully charged in eight hours using the onboard Motiv Universal Fast Charger. Aside from a three-phase service capable of delivering 480 volts, no special charger electronics are needed, as they are on the truck.
Annual Savings of 2,688 Diesel Gallons
The City of Chicago took delivery of the Motiv ERV early this year – less than a year after a P.O. was issued “for a vehicle that only existed as a specification,” Castellaz notes – and is running the all-battery truck on varying residential refuse and recycling routes of up to 60 miles, “saving 2,688 gallons a year.”
Motiv points out that it won the competitive ERV contract in 2012 against two other companies in the semi-final round.
“While Motiv did not have an ERV at that time, our ePCS was installed on other truck types, and we leapt at the chance to use the ePCS on a significantly larger truck,” Castelaz said in a release today. “The Motiv ePCS’s flexibility allows it to run on electric trucks as diverse as a Type A school bus to this ERV without costly powertrain redesigns.”
‘Keeping the Morning Peace’
Chicago specified that the ERV meet the same requirements placed on all of its garbage trucks. This included 60-mile range, a payload capacity of nine tons, and 1,000 pounds per cubic yard of compaction, specifications making the ERV capable of use anywhere in the city.
“Besides dramatically lower fuel and maintenance cost, value of the ERV goes beyond strict payback,” Castelaz said. “Each truck offsets over 75 barrels of petroleum and 42 tons of greenhouse gas per year. Plus, no one wants large, noisy truck engines idling next to their house at 6 am when they could have clean, and quieter ERV’s keeping the morning peace instead.”
The ERV was built using a Loadmaster 20 cubic yard rear loader body – the same model, Motiv says, used on other City of Chicago refuse trucks.
‘Unique Business Model’
“By developing our electric trucks in collaboration with existing diesel truck manufacturers, we build vehicles that are just as tough and capable as the diesel versions these partners build,” said Motiv business development VP John Knudtson.
“We are leveraging the expertise of existing truck manufacturers. They can offer electric options of their existing trucks, to their existing customers, and service them with their existing infrastructure. The Chicago ERV is illustrative of this unique business model and is applicable throughout the U.S. in many different truck segments.”
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Source: Motiv Power Systems with Fleets & Fuels follow-up