Bill Williams In the News , City of Scottsdale, Az.
Scottsdale adds ‘green’ trash hauler to fleet
Hybrid expected to reduce costs for fuel, brake repair
by Beth Duckett – Aug. 18, 2011 06:20 AM
The Arizona Republic
Scottsdale is believed to be the first city in Arizona to employ a technology that converts garbage trucks into hybrids, saving money on fuel and brake-repair costs.
A single trash hauler can burn $25,000 to $35,000 worth of diesel a year, said Danny Johnson, Scottsdale’s fleet director.
Last year, New York-based ElectroMotive Designs approached the city to develop and convert a hauler into a hybrid.
The results are in, the company said, and they look good.
Since hitting the streets in February, the hybrid truck has an increased fuel economy of at least 10 percent, and an increased brake life of more than 50 percent.
The city paid $34,000 for the technology, Johnson said. For a single vehicle, the savings are estimated at $3,600 a year on fuel, and about $900 a year on brake repairs, he said.
“Scottsdale is the first city to do this,” Johnson said. “We’ve been trying to ‘green’ the fleet anyway, so this was the opportunity to get on the cutting edge of some technology.”
ElectroMotive Designs is an engineering and design provider with its focus on electric and hybrid electric vehicle systems for trucks and other commercial vehicles.
The city plans to use technology when it purchases its next round of garbage trucks, Johnson said.
“Over the life of the vehicle, and we keep them 7 ½ to 8 years, we think we can achieve a return on that $34,000 investment,” he said.
This is not the first time Scottsdale has been at the forefront of waste management technology.
Forty-two years ago, the city developed the first automated residential waste-collection vehicle. Instead of having workers dump the refuse, the first truck, dubbed “Godzilla,” had mechanical arms to raise the cans and dispose of the contents into a hauler.
Retrofitting, or converting a commercial vehicle into a hybrid, is the wave of the future, ElectroMotive Designs spokesman Bill Williams said.
“This truck in Scottsdale was one of our first,” he said.
The technology involves a regenerative braking system that kicks in during deceleration, he said.
The system provides electric stopping power, which is helpful in a trash truck that “starts and stops 1,500 times a day,” Williams said. Because the driver doesn’t have to apply the brakes as much, it decreases wear and tear on the system. The truck also uses launch-assist technology, which triggers electric power when the accelerator is pressed, saving on fuel.
Williams said a hauler might average around 2.7 miles per gallon, so a 10 to 15 percent increase in fuel economy, though seemingly small, can make a significant dent in fuel costs.
ElectroMotive Designs is planning a more sophisticated battery system that could boost fuel economy by 15 to 20 percent, he said.
The company, which opened a branch office in Phoenix last year, is working with the New York Transit Authority and other government agencies to further utilize the technology, he said.
Joseph Ambrosio, general manager of ElectroMotive Designs, said Scottsdale’s “environmental foresight and cost-savings approach are serving the municipality well.”
The “leadership in ‘greening’ the fleet using this method is an ingenious way to reduce fuel consumption while only spending a small fraction of the cost of a new hybrid refuse removal vehicle,” Ambrosio said.