Wrightspeed’s first hybrid, turbine-powered trash truck delivered

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Wrightspeed’s first hybrid, turbine-powered trash truck went to work recently in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Wrightspeed founder and CEO Ian Wright, who co-founded Tesla, attended a press conference announcing the launch of the truck, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Wrightspeed focuses on the production of commercial truck powertrains, not the trucks themselves. The Freightliner delivered to refuse company Ratto Group last Tuesday will be followed up with 15 more such trucks.

Ratto passed along its used trucks to Wrightspeed which in turn is refurbishing and retrofitting the vehicles.

“I’m the ultimate recycler — I just recycled the truck,” Ratto Group Chief Operating Officer Lou Ratto said.

The trucks can travel about 24 miles on a single charge before the turbine engine takes over. Diesel consumption is expected to be cut by 60 percent. Regenerative braking is especially welcomed given the constant stop-and-go driving faced by trash trucks.

“They’re full-throttle, and then on their brakes, a thousand times a day,” Wright said. “We can help a lot with that.”

Ratto expects the fuel saving technology to pay for the trucks in about two or three years.

Wright also announced at the press conference that Wrightspeed has raised roughly $40 million. The Alameda, Calif.-based company has supplied electric powertrains to FedEx and earlier this spring inked a $30 million contract to electrify buses in New Zealand.