Automotive

Nikola takes out the trash with huge electric refuse truck order

Nikola takes out the trash wit...
Nikola has secured the largest single order in the waste industry, supplying at least 2,500 battery-electric refuse trucks to Republic Services
Nikola has secured the largest single order in the waste industry, supplying at least 2,500 battery-electric refuse trucks to Republic Services
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Nikola has secured the largest single order in the waste industry, supplying at least 2,500 battery-electric refuse trucks to Republic Services
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Nikola has secured the largest single order in the waste industry, supplying at least 2,500 battery-electric refuse trucks to Republic Services

The start/stop nature of trash collection makes electric powertrains a good choice for refuse trucks, and Phoenix-based Republic Services is tapping into zero (local) emission vehicles in a big way. The second largest non-hazardous solid waste collection provider in the US has just ordered 2,500 battery-electric waste trucks from Nikola.

The trash-collecting trucks will be based on Nikola's Tre battery-electric powertrain, and are each expected to have 720 kWh of energy storage on board for up to 150 miles between charges. Nikola equates this to around 1,200 trash cans emptied.

The powertrain will be software limited to 1,000 horses. Nikola fully expects the trucks to offer improved performance and higher torque than diesel or natural gas trucks, with figures of up to three times the horsepower being mentioned to allow them to tackle hills while fully loaded with relative ease. As well as not belching out diesel fumes while crawling through a neighborhood, the electric trash trucks should be quieter too.

Road testing has been penciled in for early 2022, and once production is in full swing, the truck chassis and body will be sent out directly to Republic Services, with the order including an option to buy up to 5,000 more trucks if things go well.

"This is a game changer," said Nikola CEO, Mark Russell. "Refuse truck customers have always ordered chassis from truck OEMs and bodies from other suppliers. Nikola has fully integrated the chassis and body, covering both with a single factory warranty. Trucks will include both automated side loaders and front-end loaders – all of which will be zero-emission."

Source: Nikola

5 comments
paul314
Sounds like they are running all the compactor and collection-arm motors off the battery as well. Otherwise they would need a diesel for that. This is really a perfect application, because each truck has a limited-mileage route and goes back to its charging station at the end of it. (Only thing is they might want to stagger shifts a little to reduce peak charging demand.)
dugnology
This works well for any vehicle that works in a closed loop. The design can be adjusted for the range required. School busses would be needed in several range classes depending upon if they need to use a highway or not. Same with postal trucks. Garbage trucks are a perfect choice since the constant stop and start combined with distributed power needs makes sense. Intercity busses and taxis also make a huge amount of sense.
Johannes
Would be interesting to know if/how much this vehicle is quieter than a diesel powered garbage truck. Collections could be scheduled for night hours if the truck doesn't make much noise. Will perhaps depend on whether the garbage pickup and compaction operations are electric or hydraulic.
buzzclick
This is a great idea. All cars, buses, trucks and trams have to stop and go, but garbage trucks do it the most. The diesels are noisy and smelly too. I too wondered about the hydraulics. It would also be a big plus if people would ditch the throw-away culture they've acquired which is directly due to over consumption.
ljaques
I hear 4 noises from the trash trucks now: fan+engine noise, exhaust noise, can/dump mechanism noise, and squeaking brakes. With electrics, at least 60% of the fan/engine/exhaust noise will be gone, making for a much quieter truck. And since they'll likely use electronic braking, most of the squeal will be gone as well. I'll guess an overall noise reduction of 75% will allow many more people to sleep on trash day. Go for it, Republic!