New York City to Welcome 7 New Electric Garbage Trucks

The eco-friendly refuse truck was tested in Brooklyn.

Volvo Group’s subsidiary Mack Trucks announced today that the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) plans to purchase seven Mack® LR Electric refuse models, which will operate in each of the city’s boroughs.
Volvo Group’s subsidiary Mack Trucks announced that the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) plans to purchase seven Mack LR Electric refuse models.

Mack Trucks

New York City is going to see a bigger presence of electric garbage trucks. The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) plans to purchase seven electric refuse models from Mack Trucks, which is part of the Volvo Group. The trucks will operate in each of the city’s boroughs,

The announcement came after DSNY apparently took delivery of its first fully electric refuse vehicle, a Mack LR Electric demonstration model, in September 2020—and it has been deploying that model for real-world testing on the streets of Brooklyn. In a press release accompanying the announcement, Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice president of sales and commercial operations, argued the fact that DSNY is now moving forward with further purchases is a testament to the benefits that electric trucks have to offer.

“The DSNY order for an additional seven Mack LR electric trucks speaks to the fact that the performance of the current LR Electric demonstrator model collecting in Brooklyn is meeting and even exceeding their expectations," said Randall. "Mack has long been the number one choice of refuse customers, and we are now well-positioned to be the industry leader in e-mobility as well. The Mack LR Electric is equipped with Mack’s integrated electric powertrain and will help New York City and DSNY achieve its zero-emissions goals.”

Apparently, the DSNY collects about 12,000 tons of refuse and recyclables daily with more than 6,000 vehicles, making it the largest refuse department in the world. That’s why it’s good news that DSNY Commissioner Edward Grayson reckons there are more of these vehicles to come.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with Mack Trucks in striving toward our environmental efforts to benefit the citizens of New York City," said Grayson. "The Mack LR Electric demonstrator is performing well, and we look forward to when we have one in each of our city’s zones.”

Residents can expect to see the new truck, which will be adorned by a copper-colored Bulldog hood ornament to signify the fully electric drivetrain, in seven different zones across the city, namely the Bronx, Brooklyn North, Brooklyn South, Manhattan, Queens East, Queens West, and Staten Island.

Rocco DiRico, the deputy commissioner for support services, says that this is a small but significant step in achieving the city’s aggressive climate goals. “New York City has set an ambitious goal of reducing GHG emissions by 100% by 2040," says DiRico. "DSNY is purchasing these seven Mack LR Electric refuse vehicles in support of achieving our environmental objectives with a zero-emissions truck that is also extremely quiet.”

Quiet operations are just one reason why electric makes sense for refuse collection. Another is the fact that these vehicles are constantly stopping and starting, making them ideal for recapturing energy through regenerative braking. In fact, these particular trucks feature a three-mode regenerative braking system that adjusts to the refuse truck’s increasing load throughout the day and helps recapture energy from the hundreds of stops the vehicle will be making. 

Of course, even if the trucks were eventually used exclusively for recycling, we probably shouldn’t forget that waste is a sign of a design failure. So we can and should continue to strive for a world where circular design principles make waste collection a significantly less common need. But that world is still a long way away. In the meantime, it will be good to see a growing number of municipal waste collection operators switching their fleets to electric. 

Not only will it result in quieter streets and cleaner air. It will most likely save taxpayers money in the long run too.