Fuel Smarts

Mack to Evaluate Electric Powertrain for Refuse Trucks

June 07, 2016

LR chassis has a retrofitted Wrightspeed Route turbine-electric system instead of a conventional diesel or natural gas engine and transmission. Photo: Mack Trucks Inc.
LR chassis has a retrofitted Wrightspeed Route turbine-electric system instead of a conventional diesel or natural gas engine and transmission. Photo: Mack Trucks Inc.

Mack Trucks is showcasing an LR low-cab-forward chassis retrofitted with a Wrightspeed Route 1000 turbine-electric powertrain this week at WasteExpo 2016 in Las Vegas, and said it will evaluate the system as an option in its refuse trucks.

Designed as an alternative to conventional engine-transmission powertrains, the Wrightspeed Route is a range-extending electric system that propels the truck and helps reduce fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance costs, the companies said.

The system features a plug-in-capable battery pack that enables a purely electric range of up to 24 miles. When the batteries’ charge runs low, an 80 kW Fulcrum Turbine Generator, which can operate on natural gas or diesel fuel, recharges the batteries, enabling unlimited range with refueling.

Additional recharging comes from the Route’s 730 kW regenerative braking system, which produces electricity as the vehicle comes to a stop. Regenerative braking also reduces maintenance costs, as brake wear is significantly decreased.

Electricity from the battery pack powers four Geared Traction Drive (GTD) electric motors, enabling the Route powertrain to power vehicles up to 66,000 pounds on grades as steep as 40%. With full torque available from zero rpm, the Route provides a driving experience comparable to diesel-powered trucks, the companies said.

“Mack is the refuse industry leader because we’re constantly seeking to pioneer new ideas and innovations,” said Dennis Slagle, president of Mack Trucks. “It’s something we’ve done throughout our 116-year history, and it’s something we will continue to do. Wrightspeed shares this pioneering spirit, which is why we’re eager to evaluate their Route powertrain technology.”

“At Wrightspeed, we’re focused on designing the best-performing powertrains for forward-looking OEMs and fleet operators,” said Ian Wright, CEO and founder of Wrightspeed. “Mack represents one of the most innovative manufacturers in the refuse industry, and we’re proud to showcase our technology alongside their Mack LR model. We thank them for recognizing our powertrain as a potential addition in their pursuit of innovation."

The Wrightspeed-equipped LR will be on display in Mack booth no. 1327 at WasteExpo 2016, which runs through June 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Related: Wrightspeed's Tantalizing Turbine-Electric Drivetrain 

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