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Chinese automaker BYD partners with US firm on an electric garbage truck

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Ted S. Warren/AP

(Read caption) Truck and automobile traffic mix on Interstate 5, headed north through Fife, Wash., near the Port of Tacoma.

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Here's an electric vehicle that really, truly stinks.

While automakers are moving in the direction of more electric cars, several companies are also making efforts to electrify commercial vehicles.

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The humble garbage truck will be the next to be electrified—which, if nothing else, will eliminate the unpleasant noise from huge diesel trucks that often wake people up in the wee hours of the morning.

The electric garbage truck is a collaboration between Chinese automaker BYD and US firm Wayne Engineering, which specializes in garbage-truck bodies.

The 3.9-ton truck has a driving range of 100 miles, according to BYD, and takes 2.5 hours to recharge.

The automaker believes the truck could cut operating costs by 58 percent, as well as eliminating the health risk of diesel trucks spewing exhaust fumes as they drive slowly up and down neighborhood streets.

For this reason, garbage trucks seem to be excellent candidates for electrification.

They travel through built-up areas, so the reduction in both harmful exhaust fumes and noise could be especially beneficial.

Garbage trucks also cover predictable routes that typically don't take them far from a home base, making range less of an issue—and making it easier to install overnight charging infrastructure at central depots.

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Commercial vehicles in general cover significantly more mileage annually than the average passenger car—with vastly worse fuel economy.

Electric garbage trucks are such a good idea, in fact, that other companies have already given them a try.

Wrightspeed—the company started by Tesla co-founder Ian Wright—has also applied its micro-turbine, extended-range electric powertrain to garbage trucks.

These powertrains retain an internal-combustion engine, but Wrightspeed has said they can decrease fuel consumption by 50 percent.

Parker Hannifin's Runwise even uses hydraulic pressure in place of an electric motor to provide a supplemental source of emission-free power in garbage trucks.

The partnership with Wayne Engineering is the latest effort by BYD to entrench itself in the U.S. commercial-vehicle market.

BYD sold more plug-in electric cars globally last year than any other maker, but after struggling to bring passenger cars to North America, it has turned its attention to electric buses and commercial trucks.

This story originally appeared on GreenCarReports.


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