Lunaz Applied Technologies (LAT) has revealed its earliest and most ambitious design and powertrain requirements ahead of a nationwide roll-out of industrial upcycled electric vehicles (UEVs). Following a preliminary development phase, LAT has met every target outlined in the illustration, in doing so creating the world’s first UEV recycling truck.
This is an exciting development for both the recycling of end-of-life refuse trucks and creating essential zero emissions electric work vehicles, especially with so many clean air and zero emissions zones being created in urban areas in the UK
These essential vehicles, which are based on the Mercedes-Benz Econic platform, are cleaner, cheaper and better equipped than their all-new battery electric counterparts. Following the significant inflow of government contracts, these UEVs will be operating recycling collection routes for several councils, including a number of London boroughs.
LAT has used the same design and engineering expertise for upcycling the end-of-life Mercedes-Benz Econic recycling trucks as it did for the Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Range Rover and Jaguar UEVs that belong to the Lunaz Design brand.
Besides creating a zero-emissions vehicle, UEV recycling trucks will also save millions of tonnes of embedded carbon from landfill. An independent environmental audit commissioned by LAT confirmed that more than 80 percent of embedded carbon over the total lifetime is saved when upcycling rather than replacing an existing refuse truck with a new electric vehicle (EV) equivalent.
Repurposing these end-of-life vehicles into UEVs that are cleaner, less expensive and better-equipped than their all-new equivalents supports the urgent requirement for fleet operators and governments worldwide to reach carbon neutrality.
The early renders reveal what can be achieved by applying Lunaz’s in-house upcycling expertise on an industrial scale. It features a 5,162lb ft powertrain fed by batteries that cannot only be replaced individually in less than 10 minutes but comply to the same rigorous safety standards as the latest electric vehicle road cars.
It also offers different battery options, 275kWh or 400kWh, to cover varying route lengths, while advanced thermal management improves range by up to 25 percent. A proprietary technology has been employed that allows these vehicles to manage low-speed torque demands but also delivers higher cruising speeds, which helps to prevent congestion that can be caused by these trucks.
Lunaz have also looked at the cabin area and consulted with drivers and crews, who were given a considerable voice as consultants in material selection and ergonomics. They stated that the middle seat of the three-abreast cabin was not sufficiently comfortable. LAT responded by improving comfort across the entire cabin environment.
LAT UEVs subsequently use seat padding materials carried over directly from Lunaz Design’s upcycled Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. Likewise, the vinyl seat covering of the end-of-life vehicles have been replaced with hard-wearing but Greenguard Gold, Health Product Declaration (HPD) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) compliant textiles.
In addition, two 10-inch displays are connected to form a 20-inch panoramic display. This combines 360-degree bird’s-eye camera views and additional safety views, including blind spots. The outermost screen, which is designed to be operated by the crew, contains multimedia and communications functions, including full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
A camera monitoring system also dramatically improves driver awareness. Two assemblies containing three cameras are mounted on the top corners of the UEV, feeding digitised rear-view mirrors. The 14-inch screens that replace the mirrors display not just the rear and blind spots around the UEV but what’s directly in front and below the vehicle, via a dedicated downward-facing camera.
The screens also feature object detection, highlighting cyclists, pedestrians and potential hazards to the driver. Unlike standard mirrors, these operate under all conditions, including rain, snow and total darkness, dramatically increasing safety.
Fleet operators were also key consultants in the development of LAT UEVs. A regular challenge was understanding from afar how much fuel remained in each vehicle. LAT overcame this with the fitment of state-of-charge LED lights in the front grille, enabling operators to instantly determine which vehicle is ready to use from up to 200 metres away.
Despite these highly considered appointments and the fact that an LAT UEV is warrantied as new, it costs less than a new electric-powered refuse truck, while significantly improving the safety and wellbeing of those who operate it.
LAT UEV products represent a rare balance in the clean-air technology space. They provide industrial vehicles that are cleaner, cheaper and better equipped than any as-new alternative. As such, the company’s growth has attracted significant interest from investors.
LAT’s ongoing success is built on the foundations of a highly strategic investor base. Together they have competencies and interests across the globe and relevant sectors, including engineering, logistics, media, technology and investment banking.
This includes Frederic Wakeman, who following a successful tenure on Wall Street with The Bank of New York and GE Capital, became a Managing Partner of Advent International, one of the largest and most experienced global private equity firms.
Wakeman is now a private investor and strategic advisor in the sustainability space as well as an active philanthropist, supporting projects where climate, nature and people intersect. He adds to a group that also includes the Reuben, Barclay and Dallal families, David Beckham and US-based Brendan Iribe, co-founder and former CEO of Oculus VR, which was acquired by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, in 2014.
David Lorenz, Lunaz founder, said: “When we embarked on the Lunaz journey in 2018, it was our mission to upcycle internal combustion engined vehicles of all kinds into clean-air solutions – from Rolls-Royces to refuse trucks. Lunaz Applied Technologies (LAT), a separate arm under the Lunaz brand, began with a rendering of a recycling truck.
“This outlined not just an incredibly ambitious technological vision for an upcycled electric vehicle (UEV) but a wish list expressed to us first hand by the people who operated them, from service engineers and fleet managers to drivers and crew. I am delighted to confirm that the vision outlined in this rendering has been met across the board and that LAT UEVs will begin their nationwide roll-out imminently.
“In upcycling these end-of-life internal combustion engined commercial and industrial vehicles with our electric powertrain, LAT UEVs are cleaner, less expensive and better equipped than their all-new equivalents. In addition, they are far quieter than their ICE counterparts.
“These critical vehicles save thousands of tonnes of embedded carbon from landfill and represent a meaningful contribution to private businesses and governments as they strive towards carbon neutrality. Recycling trucks are just the beginning for the Mercedes-Benz Econic platform.”