MANTECA, CA – The City of Manteca, located north of Modesto in northern California, has taken delivery of its first Hydraulic Launch Assist (Eaton HLA) solid waste collection vehicle (SWCV).

Government Fleet spoke with Bob Moulden, fleet superintendent for the City, about the decision to go with this vehicle and other plans designed to reduce emissions and fuel spend for the fleet. Moulden oversees a diverse fleet of 440 units, which includes vehicles from sedans, SUVs, vans, pickup trucks, utility bed trucks, flatbed trucks, and street sweepers to electric carts and riding lawnmowers.

“We have the first unit on the West Coast and look forward to integrating the system into our entire SWCV fleet over the next couple of years. The fact that the system cuts down on fuel usage and maintenance along with substantially reducing particulate matter and NOx emissions in the customers’ neighborhoods makes the system a big plus for City and County collection fleets.”

According to Moulden, although the hybrid heavy-duty SWCV is the City’s first, it plans to add three to four more of these vehicles during the next fiscal year.

“Our replacement plan calls for a complete turnover of the 28 SWCVs by FY 2025,” he said. “That is of course providing funds are made available and we can continue to meet California's stringent SWCV emissions standards.”

When asked about the choice of vehicle, Moulden said fleet services chose a regenerative braking system hybrid chassis for the solid waste collection fleet because it was the most economical investment for the City.

“Its return on investment was 3 - 5 years,” Moulden said. “This fits well with our financial plan. A SWCV (or garbage truck) stays in our fleet 8 - 10 years. The expected emissions reductions are substantial and rollback in maintenance cost is anticipated to reach 15 percent – 20 percent.”

In terms of specific performance metrics for the vehicle, Moulden said that preliminary field tests indicate the Hydraulic Launch Assist system can reduce fuel consumption up to 25 percent. It can also reduce the number of brake axle replacements required, per axle, by 3-4 maintenance cycles.

“During a typical garbage pickup cycle; the engine is at idle and its only load is the PTO (Power Take Off) that drives the hydraulic pump which is used to provide fluid power to the trucks packer and automated arm,” Moulden said. “The diesel engine is only called on to power the garbage truck above 25 mph during normal operation. The combination of 2010 diesel engine emissions and the HLA system will provide a significant reduction in Particulate Matter and NOx pollutants emitted into our neighborhoods.”

The addition of this new type of refuse truck is just one small step in the City’s move toward greater sustainability, according to Moulden.

“Manteca is pushing forward, integrating green vehicles and equipment into our fleet as funds are made available,” he said. “The Solid Waste Division has a gas/electric Escape used in its Public Outreach for the City’s recycling program. We have several police units that are flex-fuel capable and three gas/electric Escapes used by the Community Service Officers who take neighborhood reports on crimes. Additionally, the Water Division uses electric carts for its meter reading. The WQCF (Water Quality Control Facility), better known to most as our Sewer Plant, uses eight electric carts around the facility to perform plant maintenance and repairs.”

By Greg Basich