Lunaz’s upcycled electric refuse truck validates ‘best in class’ in hill climbing ability

Lunaz Applied Technologies (LAT) has finalised the demanding hill-climb component of an extensive testing programme of its upcycled electric vehicles (UEVs) at the globally renowned test and development facility, Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire, UK.

The development UEVs tested were refuse trucks on the Mercedes Econic platform. These vehicles have been subject to an upcycling process that includes the replacement of the vehicle’s diesel engine with a fully electric Lunaz powertrain. It also incorporates a suite of the latest safety, connectivity and ergonomic improvements.

- Advertisement -

Of note was the UEVs exceptional performance on the challenging 1:5 gradient at the proving ground. The vehicle, which was fully prepared for a refuse collection round with a ‘crusher’ body mounted and occupied by a driver and two crew, not only ascended the hill effortlessly but had 1000nm of torque in reserve. This is the equivalent to the 253mph Bugatti Veyron.

This test was critical in establishing LAT’s global application. In achieving this milestone LAT UEVs are validated for nearly all residential roads globally. This helps to support considerable interest from foreign governments the world over who wish to benefit from LAT’s UEVs. These electric vehicles (EVs) represent a cleaner, cheaper and better-equipped alternative to their all-new equivalents.

The hill-climb test was conducted as part of LAT’s ongoing 10-year development programme, compressed into two years by testing five identical Mercedes Econic UEVs simultaneously. 

These vehicles are currently being subject to 300,000 miles of durability testing on Millbrook Proving Ground’s famously demanding ‘Belgian Pave’ cobbled road. Along with more than 500 hours of driver calibration, where pedal feel, power delivery and braking endurance are finessed. Plus, 800 hours of energy optimisation, balancing power consumption with performance. 

The UEVs 56mph (90kph) top speed, a significant figure in that many vehicles in its class are only capable of 35mph (56kph), will also be tested continually for more than 200 hours.

This performance delivers an essential benefit to waste management companies, local authorities and the public as slow-moving refuse trucks will no longer block busy commuter roads at peak times. This is augmented by the proprietary re-engineering of the transmission system to allow best-in-class hill-climbing ability without compromising the top speed.

To support the well being of the critical workforce who operate these vehicles, significant resources are being applied to testing and improving noise, vibration and harshness conditions in these vehicles. 

Sister brand Lunaz Design has supplied an electrified 1961 Bentley Continental Flying Spur for acoustic benchmarking purposes, supporting LAT engineers’ target of a 40 per cent reduction in cabin noise compared to a diesel Mercedes Econic.

A highly specialised and diverse test team has been assembled to carry out this landmark testing. Its development driver team is made up of refuse and heavy goods vehicle drivers. These share a collective 50 years of frontline operational experience, as well as hypercar, aerospace and nuclear submarine engineers. 

These specialisms reflect the highest engineering and safety standards in the world. LAT’s exhaustive testing programme will conclude ahead of the first fleet deliveries in 2023. 

We are big fans of upcycling rather than just binning and replacing. It keeps capable and useable out of landfill and it’s far more economical for councils and governments to upcycle than replace. It’s a win-win and with impressive torque  like this, it’s also a no-brainer in terms of performance. 

David Lorenz, Lunaz CEO, said: “I believe that every vehicle deserves at least two lives. I am extremely proud of the engineers who are in the process of not just delivering but validating this vision. 

“Our upcycled electric vehicles represent so much more than technological innovation – they deliver a major improvement for the wellbeing of the drivers and crew who operate these vehicles. 

“These vehicles provide a critical reduction in the environmental impact all-new refuse trucks make. A UEV achieves this not only by way of its clean-air powertrain but in unlocking the embedded carbon trapped in scrapped trucks.”

Lunaz, who are based in Silverstone, say that volume production for these upcycled electric vehicles is on schedule to commence in 2023. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

Related Articles