Republic Services takes delivery of first electric refuse truck

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Republic Services has taken delivery of its first Mack LR Electric waste collection truck.

The keys were handed over during a virtual ceremony and press conference Oct. 6 at Mack Trucks headquarters in Greensboro, N.C. The truck will be put into service on a residential route in Hickory, N.C., while Mack evaluates its performance before a commercial rollout in 2021.

“Mack Trucks is extremely pleased that Republic’s very first fully electric refuse vehicle is the Mack LR Electric,” said Jonathan Randall, Mack Trucks senior vice-president of North American sales and commercial operations. “The LR Electric offers numerous benefits, including zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and quieter operation, and we look forward to partnering with Republic to meet their business needs through this fully electric truck.”

The truck comes with two electric motors producing 536 peak hp and 4,051 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s powered by four lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged in about 90 minutes. The body, a Heil Command ST automated side loader has been optimized for electric trucks, Mack revealed. It’s a lightweight body that maximizes hauling capacity and only draws power when needed, helping to extend battery life. The ASL arm is body-mounted to free up frame rail space for batteries and other auxiliary components.

The waste segment represents about 7,000 trucks a year, with 55% being cabovers like the LR. Randall noted Mack is the only OEM to offer two cabover platforms – the LR and TerraPro – in addition to the Granite for rolloff and some other collection applications.

Shane Walker, area president, Mid-Atlantic region, said Republic Services operate a fleet of more than 16,000 trucks and performs about five million pickups every day.

“Obviously with a fleet that size, we are constantly looking for innovative ways to improve safety, efficiency and performance, and ultimately to lessen our impact on the environment,” he said.

The Mack LR Electric will produce zero tailpipe emissions, and will reduce noise. Those who wait till they hear the garbage truck approaching before rushing their trash out to the curb may have to begin planning ahead, Randall joked.

Scott Barraclough, technical product manager, Mack Trucks, said the LR Electric builds on an existing model that already featured excellent ergonomics, visibility and interior space. Electric Mack Trucks feature a copper bulldog on the hood. The LR Electric Republic Services is taking features four batteries, two mounted behind the cab and the others on the chassis. They’re mounted transversely to create room on the passenger side for the side loader.

(Photo: Mack Trucks)

A modular power box sits where the diesel engine would normally be. It also houses the central charging unit, the electronic control units, fuse panels, thermal management system and junction box. The entire vehicle outweighs a diesel-powered Mack LR, but the company didn’t disclose by how much. Fans and other auxiliary equipment are electrified and an e-PTO is mounted on the chassis to drive the hydraulics. The truck can produce up to 536 peak hp or 448 continuous hp.

The LR Electric is monitored by Mack’s GuardDog Connect telematics and remote diagnostics platform. Through this, Randall said Mack will be able to remotely monitor the truck’s performance on its routes.

In addition to saving on fuel, Republic Services expects to see maintenance savings, since brake wear will be reduced and oil changes will no longer be required. In fact, added Randall, refuse is a perfect application for electrification since the trucks return home each night for charging and the regenerative braking from frequent starts and stops provides steady power to the batteries while on route.

Mack’s first LR Electric was deployed earlier this year into the New York City Department of Sanitation fleet.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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