Photo courtesy of Motiv.

Photo courtesy of Motiv.

The City of Chicago has added what is believed to be the first all-electric garbage truck in North America. The Electric Refuse Vehicle, or ERV, was designed by Motiv Power Systems using its electric Powertrain Control System technology and in collaboration with Chicago’s existing refuse truck vendors. The city is currently running the Motiv ERV on different residential refuse and recycling routes of up to 60 miles, which is expected to save the city 2,688 gallons of fuel per year.

“We look forward to examining how this truck can boost efficiency, reduce emissions, and save taxpayer dollars in the future,” said David Reynolds, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management, in a statement.

The first ERV, delivered earlier this year, is one of an estimated 20 that could be built within the exclusive five-year purchase order. The development and production of the Motiv ERV was facilitated through a Department of Energy grant to the City of Chicago.

Motiv won the competitive contract in 2012. Chicago specified the ERV must meet the demanding requirements placed on all of its garbage trucks. This included 60 mile range, a payload capacity of nine tons, and 1,000 lbs. per cubic yard of compaction. These specifications make the ERV capable of use anywhere in Chicago. To supply enough electricity to move the truck and power the hydraulics all day, the ERV is equipped with 200 kilowatt-hours of energy, in ten battery packs. Full charge time is eight hours using the Motiv Universal Fast Charger.  

“Besides dramatically lower fuel and maintenance cost, value of the ERV goes beyond strict payback,” Motiv Founder and CEO Jim Castelaz said. “Each truck offsets over 75 barrels of petroleum and 42 tons of greenhouse gas per year. Plus, no one wants large, noisy truck engines idling next to their house at 6 a.m. when they could have clean and quieter ERVs keeping the morning peace instead.”

This ERV was built using a Loadmaster 20 cubic yard rear loader body – the exact same model of body used on other City of Chicago refuse trucks. The chassis was manufactured by Crane Carrier.

Motiv has used the electric Powertrain Control System on other vehicles including school and shuttle buses and various types of trucks.