NEW YORK, NY
Given the brawny nickname “New York's Strongest” it's earned by keeping a shine on the Big Apple for almost 130 years, it's no wonder the New York City Dept. of Sanitation (DSNY) did not wait idly by for manufacturers to roll out hybrids for its heavy-duty refuse collection fleet.
“Two to three years ago with the help of Mayor Bloomberg's Administration, we determined we wanted to get ahead of the curve with alternative technology for greening our fleet,” relates Deputy Commissioner of Support Services Rocco DiRico, whose duties include overseeing the fleet. “We heard a lot about hybridization, but it seemed no one was taking the lead for heavy refuse vehicles.”
DiRico says DSNY fleet managers began by working closely with Calstart, which had launched its Hybrid Refuse Truck Workers Group as part of its Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), to start drumming up interest. From there, it took a few years to develop the specs needed for makers to get the heavy-duty hybrid refuse trucks onto the road.
“Mack, Crane Carrier and some other manufacturers got interested in the concept as did city officials from around the country,” DiRico explains. “What's been developed so far are four different types of heavy hybrids.”
Earlier this year DSNY took delivery of one of each of the first-of-their-kind Class 8 hybrid trucks for residential trash collection as well as a hybrid medium-duty “rack” truck spec'd for various support duties. The hybrid collection trucks are all rated at 72,000 lbs. GVW — making them by far the heaviest hybridized refuse trucks available anywhere.
“With these trucks in regular collection service,” DiRico advises, “we can find out which type, or types, of hybrids will best fit our residential collection operations. We have a wide variety of driving patterns and duty cycles due to the varying density of housing in New York City. That makes us the perfect platform to quantify the value of these trucks in different settings and route structures.”
The DSNY heavy-hybrid force consists of a Mack TerraPro low-entry truck that DSNY says is the first parallel hybrid-electric diesel in the country designed specifically for Class 8 applications; a Crane Carrier Corp. low-entry truck with a Bosch Rexroth Hydrostatic Regenerative Braking (HRB) parallel hydraulic system; and a Crane Carrier low-entry model with an ISE hybrid-electric series drive system. A fourth hybrid, DSNY's first medium-duty hybrid, is a Kenworth T370 that entered service at the same time and has been deployed to see how it performs handling such tasks as snow removal.
“There's four different types of heavy refuse trucks in the program,” DiRico points out, “but we will eventually have seven hybrid trucks delivered to us. Two are already in service; three are entering service soon; and then there will be two more, including one outfitted to run on CNG [compressed natural gas].”
Regardless of the nameplates on the trucks, DiRico says DSNY is most concerned about how these pre-production hybrids will “meet the operational demands of New York City collection and what they will deliver in terms of cleaner air.
“Fortunately for DSNY, with the help of NYCDOT, we obtained federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding to pay for some of the incremental cost of the trucks,” says DiRico. “You do want to foster competition [among OEMs] to help get these trucks commercialized,” he adds, elaborating on why DSNY became involved with HTUF. “Once there are larger numbers, we can put the purchase of hybrid refuse trucks out for bid. And, ultimately, higher production levels will drive the unit price down and that will allow private trash haulers to also be able to put these green trucks to work.”