Tesla Cofounder Says Garbage Trucks Great Application For Electrification
Stop-Go Duty Cycle Bad for ICE, Great for Electrics
Electric vehicles may be synonymous in the greater public’s mind with the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, and other futuristic passenger cars. However, vehicle electrification actually may make the most sense in commercial vehicle applications, or so claims Ian Wright, one of the original cofounders of Tesla Motors and now CEO of his own clean energy commercial vehicle startup, Wrightspeed. In an interview on tech blog Quartz, Wright cites the stop-and-go duty cycle of garbage trucks, which gives them an average fuel economy of approximately of 3 mpg, making their average fuel consumption bill more than $40,000 and giving them carbon emissions more than 20 times of the average U.S. home.
Wright proclaimed in the interview, “Within five years, you’ll only have electric garbage trucks.” While that’s a pretty bold statement, the economics of his argument are compelling. A converted truck adds a $150,000 premium to the price of the truck. However, the fuel and maintenance savings alone could potentially be recouped in as little as three to four years. The up-front premium remains an obstacle to some buyers. That hasn’t dissuaded the New Zealand transit authority from purchasing $30 million worth of products from Wrightspeed and limited trials with FedEx and some waste companies. Recently, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk stated that Class-8 level trucks were also part of the company’s product plan moving forward.