greenwich eRCV

A bin lorry at the end of its normal working life has been repowered with a zero-emission, all-electric motor for a trial taking place in Greenwich, London.

The aim is to test if the technology can significantly extend the working life of a high-value vehicle, while reducing air and noise pollution in built-up, urban areas.

It will also assess the viability of the technology and make the economic case for repowering electric vehicles.

The prototype, built by Sheffield-based Magtec, will be tested alongside the traditional refuse fleet managed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Before the trial, a year-long technical development project has been carried out by a consortium comprising Magtec, Royal Borough of Greenwich and its urban innovation agency DG Cities.

It is funded by Innovate UK.

The consortium said that RCVs operate in largely residential areas, with their diesel engines in constant use 14 hours per day, achieving only 2.5 – 4.5mpg, having emissions that include nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (THC and NMHC) and particulate matter (PM), which is essentially soot.

By replacing the diesel engine with an electric motor, the eRCV produces zero emissions in operation, as well as greatly reducing noise pollution.

It is estimated that the repowering modification will double the vehicle’s operational life, extending it to 14 years, and generate a lifetime cost saving of up to £300,000 compared to a Euro-5 or older diesel powered model.

The eRCV is a 26-tonne battery-powered, zero-emission truck designed to do a 14-hour ‘double shift’ duty-cycle without needing to recharge, which the consortium claims is an “industry leading performance”.

Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, councillor Danny Thorpe, said: “We are delighted to be part of the consortium to develop and trial the first 26-tonne repowered electric refuse vehicle in the world.

“I am particularly pleased that we are pioneering technology that will help address poor air quality. I am sure residents and pedestrians will also appreciate the quiet operation of the vehicles.  With this ground-breaking eRCV in operation, the loudest noise on the street on bin day in the future maybe the refuse collectors whistling.”

Magtec programme director Simon Buckley added: “This is a UK first, and demonstrates Magtec’s commitment to innovation. Repowering a heavy goods vehicle with our electronic drivetrain not only extends its life, it also removes both noise and urban pollution.”