The “Go Green” initiative has made great strides in the recent years by instituting solar panels, using wind power, developing hybrid cars, and now, implementing electric powered trash trucks. In the past few days, the City of Chicago has ordered 20 heavy-duty electric powered garbage trucks, making them the first in the nation. The electric trucks run almost silently, release practically no emissions, and are expected to cut operating costs by at least 50%.
The electric trash trucks will be the largest all-electric street vehicle in the U.S. according to Dave Lopina, dealer of Cumberland Service Center of Chicago. Each truck will consist of 10 battery packs for a total of 200 kilowatt hours and a range of 60 miles. The batteries will be charged at night and are also boosted by regenerative braking that will reduce wear on brakes as well as, if not better than hybrids. According to the contract, the cost of the first vehicle breaks down to about $1.3 million. The cost per truck then gradually reduces with the first 10 vehicles bought. After which, each one is priced at about $500,000, which is about twice the cost of a current diesel powered truck. However, low operating costs will pay back the investment in a reasonable amount of time. The trucks which were once only meant to keep the streets clean, will now create greater cleanliness in the air as well.
Garbage trucks are just one example of vehicles that are compatible with the electric system. Any off-the-shelf motors and batteries could use the same system as well. The Crane Carrier Corp has a 20-passenger shuttle bus operating in the San Francisco Bay area that is using the electric system. The operating cost of the electric run shuttle is 10 cents per mile compared to 80 cents per mile for a diesel chassis. By implementing more electric carriers, we could save a great deal of money as well as greatly benefit our environment.