Electric trash trucks could be in OKC in a few years


Some of those Republic Services trash trucks in central Oklahoma might soon be electric trucks made by the Nikola Corporation.

Republic Services, considered to be a solid waste industry leader has agreed to buy 2,500 electric collection vehicles from Nikola. The deal depends on “pending performance” and includes a potential for up to 5,000 truck orders.

It is described as the company’s largest truck order ever for its fleet of nearly 16,000 collection vehicles. Initial testing, according to Utility Dive is to begin in Arizona and California with wider-scale testing in 2022 and full deployment by 2023.

The vehicles would have a 150-mile range and up to 720 kilowatt hours of battery capacity and the ability to collect 1,200 cans or garbage carts with one charge. Republican said it hopes to use the electric trucks for automated side load and front-end load collections.

The financial terms were not disclosed but Nikola founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton told the Wall Street Journal he expects each unit will cost under $500,000. The existing Class 8 Nikola Tre chassis and powertrain will be used, with bodies licensed from an undisclosed company. A new cab is being designed specifically for Republic. Nikola will serve as the direct point of contact for all equipment and maintenance needs.

This year has already seen growing interest in electric refuse vehicles, but the scale of Republic’s order surpasses anything to date. Last year, Republic set a target to reduce its primary greenhouse gas emissions 35% by 2030. The company’s fleet emissions accounted for 1.34 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019 and have been gradually declining since at least 2016. Landfill emissions comprise the majority of Republic’s overall greenhouse gas footprint.

According to a virtual press event on Monday, the two Arizona-based companies have been working together on this deal for about a year and Nikola is building a factory in the state. Milton’s experience with waste applications and Republic President Jon Vander Ark’s background in the automotive space were said to be helpful factors, leading to an “anchor tenant” commitment to bring Nikola’s technology into the national waste and recycling industry.

“When you have something like this where you’ve got to do something truly new to the world, it takes a longer-term commitment and we were very comfortable making it because it reinforces our belief that this is where the space is going. This is what customers want, this is where all the economic incentives and regulation is pushing,” said Vander Ark.

He said Republic’s previously announced electric truck pilot with Mack is “very much ongoing,” but Nikola’s technology was repeatedly described as the current market leader. According to Milton, the Nikola model’s horsepower capabilities are superior to current trucks and that will address capacity concerns around hills or other challenging conditions commonly associated with electric vehicles.

Source: Utility Dive