California’s first all-electric refuse truck headed for Sacramento

The nation’s first refuse truck, shown above, was put into service in Chicago in 2014.The nation’s first refuse truck, shown above, was put into service in Chicago in 2014.

California will be getting its first all-electric refuse truck making it only the second truck of its kind operating in the U.S.

Motiv Power Systems, which designed and built the truck’s electric powertrain, announced that the City of Sacramento ordered a left-side loader featuring a Crane Carrier chassis and a Loadmaster body.

The city expects to save 6,000 gallons of fuel a year while running the electric refuse vehicle (ERV) on residential and recycling routes. Assuming a diesel price of $2.49 per gallon that results in fuel savings of $15,000 per year.

The nation’s first all-electric garbage truck, which Motiv and Loadmaster built for the City of Chicago in 2014, needs $7 per day of electricity for charging, while the city’s conventional diesel truck uses $70 worth of fuel per day, according to Motiv. (Watch a video below of Chicago’s ERV crushing a couch.)

But lower fuel and maintenance costs are only part of the story. For Sacramento, there’s a bigger reason for acquiring an ERV.

“The City of Sacramento has a very pro-active sustainability policy, showcased by being voted the #1 Government Green Fleet in North America in 2013,” said Mark Stevens, fleet manager for the City of Sacramento.

“Reducing harmful vehicle emissions in the Sacramento region is a primary focus of our sustainability policy, and the most effective way to achieve that goal is to implement electric vehicles into our fleet. We are excited to partner with Motiv Power Systems to design and build the first all-electric left hand automated refuse truck in North America. The City of Sacramento intends to prove that all-electric refuse trucks are the future of the industry, and we anticipate igniting that trend.”

Sacramento specified that this ERV must meet the demanding requirements placed on all of its garbage trucks. This includes three routes per day to remove trash, recycling and green waste in a downtown Sacramento neighborhood. To supply enough electricity to move the truck and power the hydraulics all day, the ERV is equipped with 10 battery packs, expandable to 12 packs if needed for future route expansion. Using the Motiv universal high power charger, the ERV’s sodium nickel batteries will easily reach full charge overnight. Once fully charged, the truck has a range of about 60 miles.

“The value of the City of Sacramento’s zero-emission ERV goes beyond lower fuel and maintenance cost and strict payback,” said Motiv CEO Jim Castelaz. “Reducing the amount of diesel-fueled refuse trucks in the city keeps communities safer from toxic diesel emissions. And, in addition to being cleaner, it’s a quieter alternative to conventional trucks—a definite plus for those of us who appreciate peaceful mornings!”

Loadmaster is no stranger to alternative fuel. The Michigan-based refuse truck manufacturer also builds CNG-powered haulers. However, when it comes to the future of urban transportation, Loadmaster believes electric powertrains have the edge.

“At Loadmaster, our reputation for innovation sets us apart from our competition. We’re thrilled to further this mission by working with Motiv on another all-electric refuse truck, and in fact, our first truck for Sacramento,” said Al Michaud, National Sales Manager of Loadmaster. “Electric refuse trucks are the future of urban transportation, proving their worth both economically and environmentally. We look forward to moving even more fleets to make the same green transition.”

However, going green doesn’t come cheap. Chicago’s first truck cost around $1.2 million. If things went well, the city planned to buy 19 more, Loadmaster President David Brisson told Michigan’s TV6 in Dec. 2013.

Currently the only technology of its kind in the trucking market, Motiv’s all-electric powertrain uses off-the-shelf batteries and motors, which can be mixed and matched to fit the exact size and duty cycle of the electric truck needed. It can handle EV trucks from medium-duty to heavy-duty, weighing 14,000 lbs. to 60,000 lbs. The Motiv All-Electric Powertrain is designed to be assembled using the existing diesel chassis infrastructure already established throughout the world.