Mack will sell electric garbage trucks in 2021

Mack Trucks will begin taking orders in the fourth quarter for its battery-powered LR Electric refuse hauler it is testing in New York City and with Republic Services.

The announcement Wednesday comes a few weeks after Republic (NYSE: RSG) agreed to purchase 2,500 battery-electric waste haulers from startup Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) Republic said it was the largest order of waste trucks in industry history.

The Mack LR Electric has been in testing with the New York Department of Sanitation since the second quarter. Mack announced in February 2019 it would partner with Republic, the nation’s No. 2 waste collection company behind Waste Management.

Mack, an American subsidiary of Sweden’s Volvo Group (OTC: VLVLY), said deliveries of the Electric LR would begin in 2021. The production Mack LR Electric model is targeted at commercial or municipal waste haulers that want a zero-emissions truck. Because it runs on batteries, its quiet operation allows night-time pickups. 

“The LR Electric is paving the way toward widespread acceptance of zero-emissions refuse trucks,” Mack President Martin Weissburg said in a press release.  

Quiet power

The LR Electric features a fully integrated electric powertrain with twin alternating current (AC) motors with 496 peak horsepower and a two-speed transmission. They produce 4,051 pounds-foot of torque. It is equipped with a 20,000-pound Mack FXL20 front axle and two Mack S522R 52,000-pound rear axles. Gross vehicle weight is 72,000 pounds.

The twin electric motors and four nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion batteries feature up to 150 kilowatt (kW) charging power at 200 amps maximum current. They propel the truck and power its onboard accessories, including the 25-yard DuraPack 5000 rear loader.

A three-mode regenerative braking system with auto, low and high options recaptures energy from the hundreds of stops a refuse truck typically makes a day.

“It’s a closed loop application; it has predetermined routes; and it has range [limitability],” Roy Horton, Mack director of product strategy said in January. “It’s home every night, so for a battery-electric vehicle that needs charging, it’s a perfect [application].”

Equipment bodies from multiple manufacturers allow tailoring to specific applications. Driver/passenger side driving configurations, seating choices and door options offered on the diesel-powered LR carry over to the LR Electric. Minimal changes to gauges and switchgear improve ergonomics of the cab.

The LR Electric will be manufactured at Mack’s Lehigh Valley Operations (LVO) in Macungie, Pennsylvania, where all heavy-duty Mack trucks built for North America are assembled. 

The electric system borrows from the Volvo Group’s work on electric buses in Europe. It was modified for North America, Horton said.

Mack Introduced the LR Electric as a prototype in 2018. Like all Mack Trucks, it comes with a bulldog hood ornament. The LR bulldog is copper colored to signify electricity.

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Republic Services orders 2,500 refuse trucks from Nikola

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.