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Chicago Refuse Fleet Putting All-Electric Trucks Into Service

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Chicago city streets are set to be the first in the nation with all-electric garbage trucks thanks to the $13.4 million contract granted the California-based start-up Motiv Power Systems.

The scalability and flexibility of the Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) made the company the most cost-effective choice for the exclusive 5-year contract.

In total, the City of Chicago has 600 garbage trucks in operation.  Recently at the 2012 High-Efficiency Truck Users Forum, Chicago said it evaluated the option of hybrid and compressed natural gas (CNG) refuse trucks before requesting bids for the 20 EV refuse trucks. The city ultimately found that its garbage routes did not enable hybrid or CNG vehicles to be financially viable, and turned to the all-electric option to meet its needs.  The city confirmed this analysis by placing a hybrid garbage truck into service.

Currently the only technology of its kind in the trucking market, the ePCS uses off-the-shelf batteries and motors, which can be mixed and matched to fit the exact size of the electric truck needed.

The ePCS can handle EV trucks from medium-duty to Class 8 heavy-duty, weighing 15,000 lbs-52,000 lbs.  Research suggests the ePCS design approach cuts operating costs by 50 percent over an eight-year period.  With its medium-duty pilot shuttle, Motiv reduced operating cost from 80 cents per mile ($0.80/mi) to 10 cents per mile ($0.10/mi).

Motiv has been validating its ePCS since March 2012 with an all-electric pilot bus. Funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission, the 20 passenger bus contains 5 battery packs (125 kWh) which can provide a range of over 120 miles on a single charge.

The Motiv EV refuse trucks planned for Chicago will use the same ePCS system as the pilot bus, but include a larger motor, and 10 battery packs.  The EV garbage trucks will also use an electric motor to drive the hydraulics system.  The EV refuse trucks will weigh 52,000 lbs and have a range of more than 60 miles, with a total energy storage of 200 kWh.

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