All-electric garbage truck added to Cary, NC, Fleet


(TNS) – The City of Cary’s gradual transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles has so far focused on relatively small machines, such as police cars, ATVs and riding mowers.

Now he’s ordered something bigger: the city’s first all-electric garbage truck. Cary expects to receive the side-loading truck in a year and put it to work emptying curbside recycling bins.

While electric cars have been around for decades, large electric vehicles like garbage trucks and fire trucks are still uncommon. Mack Trucks based in Greensboro only started to produce LR Electric garbage truck late last year and says Cary is the first municipality in the state to order one.

The city wants switch its fleet of vehicles to electric mainly to use less fuel and produce less pollution. The city replaces cars, trucks and other vehicles every year and has made electricity its new normal, Deputy City Manager Danna Widmar said.

“We think we can transition by 2040, Widmar said. “So it’s really an important step.”

But not easy. For starters, there aren’t many electric garbage trucks on the market. Cary initially tried to buy one from another company, but manufacturing delays and some design flaws ended that deal.

Another challenge is cost. The city will pay about $904,000 for the Mack and its charging equipment, more than half a million more than a standard diesel, Widmar said. Cary offset much of that cost with a $406,000 grant from the federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act programleaving the city to pay around $498,000, still $168,000 more than diesel.

But the city expects to save $23,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs over diesel, which would make up the difference over the truck’s expected seven- or eight-year lifespan.

In addition to less air pollution, residents of Cary may also notice less noise.

“It will be a lot calmer,” Widmar said. “And it also has clear benefits for our staff.”


Cary has a fleet of 28 diesel-powered trucks to collect solid waste, recycling and yard waste; like the new electric, 19 of these trucks have a side arm that allows the driver to lift the bins from inside the cab. When the electric truck arrives, one of the diesels will be retired.

Trucks typically operate from approximately 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and, as needed, on Friday to complete uncompleted runs.

The Mack truck’s electric batteries not only move the truck, but also power the arm to lift the bins. On average, an LR Electric is able to travel about 100 miles before needing to be recharged, company spokeswoman Kim Pupillo said.

“We are confident that the LR Electric will provide the range needed to meet the needs of many heavy-duty applications in the United States,” Pulillo said in an email. “And, thanks to its fast charging capability, recharging becomes possible during lunch breaks if charging is needed to complete a shift.”

Cary believes the electric truck will travel about 120,000 miles over its expected lifespan, Widmar said. The truck comes with a five-year, 250,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and, most importantly, an eight-year battery warranty, she said.

Mack builds the truck’s cab, chassis and powertrain at its Macungie, Pennsylvania plant near Allentown. New Way Trucks of Scranton, Iowabuild the body.

Next on Cary’s list of electric vehicles are pickup trucks. The city plans to start testing some soon. And in a few years, he hopes manufacturers of electric fire trucks will have them readily available.

In the meantime, the city has installed lithium-ion batteries on nine of its fire trucks to power them while they idle.

“We’ve made the transition to idle reduction technology, which has been a big improvement,” Widmar said. “A lot of the emissions from trucks happen during the time they sit there during a call.”

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