Fuel Smarts

Sacramento County to Demo Electric Refuse Trucks

June 01, 2015

Photo courtesy of Sacramento County
Photo courtesy of Sacramento County

Sacramento County, Calif., will be testing out two battery-electric heavy-duty refuse trucks to see how they compare with diesel and natural gas vehicles. TransPower is conducting the demo project on its ElecTrucks to compare performance standards with conventional diesel refuse trucks in the categories of acceleration, hauling capacity, reliability, cost of ownership and other key metrics.

“I jumped at the chance to demonstrate these promising vehicles that will save the county operating and maintenance costs and reduce the impact on the environment,” said Keith Leech, the county’s Fleet Division and parking enterprise chief. Leech is also the president of the Sacramento Regional Clean Cities Coalition.

The typical heavy-duty diesel garbage truck uses roughly 10,000 gallons or gallon-equivalents of diesel fuel annually. The diesel fuel costs for these EV refuse trucks will be eliminated. EV refuse trucks have zero emissions during operation and are quieter.

The Department of Waste Management and Recycling will operate the trucks daily and already has a fleet that runs on either liquid natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG).

"Natural gas vehicles emit only a fraction of the emissions of diesel fuel and save the County and rate payers money," said Paul Philleo, director of Waste Management and Recycling. "But the thought of zero emissions, coupled with eliminating fuel costs with these electric refuse trucks is really something to be excited about."

One of the county’s LNG refuse trucks uses about 35 gallon-equivalent of LNG per day and cost averages $107 to operate. Leech said each electric refuse truck is estimated to cost approximately $24 a day to operate.

By participating in the demo project, the county can use the vehicles at no cost for two years; it will only need to provide TransPower with an accounting of operating expenses. Afterward, the county can buy or lease the trucks at substantially less than their actual cost.

The county anticipates receiving the electric refuse trucks by 2016.

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