Garbage trucks are dirty. I mean, obviously they're covered in trash juice and I don't even want to think of what else, but that's not what I'm talking about. See, they are powered by massive diesel engines and they put almost as much crud into the atmosphere as they take off of our streets.
Mack Trucks thinks it has a better way to get trash trucks around the city and it involves electric power. The company unveiled a prototype battery-electric garbage truck on Wednesday at WasteExpo 2019 (aka arguably the convention I'd least want to attend based on name alone).
The model it debuted is based on the LR truck that is already popular with municipalities all over the country; only it has a fairly wild battery-electric drivetrain under it that makes a respectable 496 horsepower and a mind-boggling 4,051 pound-feet of torque. It does this with two 130-kilowatt AC motors, a two-speed transmission and some beefy Mack 56,000-pound axles.
The diesel engine on an ordinary trash truck doesn't just make the wheels spin; it also has to run a ton of hydraulics and other systems. The LR BEV uses battery power to drive these systems, including hydraulics. The whole system is powered by four large lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries that can be recharged at up to 150 kW and 200 amps.
Mack left out the specifics on the LR BEV's expected range, but it's fair to assume that most garbage trucks don't pile the miles on in the same way that a semi truck would. Also, the hundreds of stops and starts that a truck might see during a shift gives plenty of opportunity for brake regen, which should help range too.
The first LR electric truck will do its real-world testing with the New York Department of Sanitation starting in 2020.