Yorkshire firm develops first electrically run bin lorry

A Yorkshire firm has developed the first refuse lorry in the world to run on electrical power.

Magtec, which has sites in Sheffield and Rotherham, is part of a consortium which is trialling a programme to repower existing bin lorries with electrical motors.

On the day that the nation marks national Clean Air Day, Magtec has revealed the trial which it is conducting with the Royal Borough of Greenwich which will see a vehicle with silent running and zero emissions.

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Repowering the end-of-life vehicle will double its lifespan, whilst bringing a wide range of environmental and social benefits.

New Ultra Low Emissions regulations will affect 60,000 commercial vehicles and the £300,000 per vehicle cost saving over non-compliant ULEZ diesel alternative.

Refuse lorries operate in largely residential areas, with their diesel engines in constant use 14 hours per day and achieve only 2.5-4.5miles per gallon while belching out emissions that include nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (THC and NMHC) and particulate matter (PM), which is essentially soot.

The trial marks the culmination of a year long technical development with the consortium comprised of Magtec, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and its urban innovation agency, DG Cities.

The project was part funded by Innovate UK, the Government’s research and development lead.

Magtec programme director, Simon Buckley, said: “This is a UK first, and demonstrates Magtec’s commitment to innovation. Repowering a heavy goods vehicle with our electronic drivetrain not only extends its life, it also removes both noise and urban pollu- tion.”

From April next year, Central London will become an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and vehicles entering the area will need to meet tighter emission stan- dards.

In addition, from October 2020, vehicles over 3.5 tonnes will need to meet the ULEZ standards across Greater London and vehicles operated by local authorities will not be exempt.

Magtec, the UK’s largest supplier of electric vehicle drive systems, replaced the diesel engine and associated components of a Royal Borough of Greenwich- owned Mercedes Econic vehicle with an electric vehicle drivetrain, designed and manufactured in the UK.

The company also replaced the engine-driven hydraulic system, which drives the rubbish compaction and bin lift systems, with an electric-powered system that is more efficient and quieter.

The Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Coun Danny Thorpe said: “We are delighted to be part of the consortium to develop and trial the first 26-tonne repowered electric refuse vehicle in the world.

“Greenwich is at the forefront of developments in areas such as smart city innovation and smart mobility.

“I am particularly pleased that we are pioneering technology that will help address poor air quality.

“This further underlines our commitment to improving the environment, as reflected in our ambitious Greener Greenwich strategy.

“I am sure residents and pedestrians will also appreciate the quiet operation of the vehicles.

“With this ground-breaking eRCV in operation, the loudest noise on the street on bin day in the future may be the refuse collectors whistling.”