California refuse collection company the Ratto Group will roll out 15 refuse trucks retrofitted with Wrightspeed’s Route range-extended electric powertrain over the next 12 months.
The Wrightspeed Route powertrain is optimized for heavy-duty frequent-stop drive cycles, like those of refuse trucks. It replaces a vehicle’s engine, transmission and differential systems with a fuel-agnostic microturbine generator and Wrightspeed’s own motor, motor controller, clutchless transmission and vehicle dynamics software. A four-speed clutchless gearbox uses software controls in place of traditional transmission components, saving on weight while delivering a wide range of power and speed.
Capable of powering vehicles weighing up to 66,000 pounds up grades as steep as 40%, the Route provides the refuse market with the power-to-weight ratio needed for collection duty cycles. Wrightspeed’s patented Geared Traction Drive (GTD) digitally drives each rear wheel of the vehicle, providing the slip control needed to operate in tough road conditions.
“In a business that puts a premium on re-use, this represents the ultimate in recycling. We’re literally recycling the recycling truck,” said Ratto Group COO Lou Ratto. “By integrating Wrightspeed’s powertrains into our existing commercial fleet, we’re initiating a progressive solid waste and recyclables collection strategy that will maximize the life of our vehicles, cut fuel consumption and emissions, and have a positive environmental impact on our service areas.”
MORE: Q&A with Ian Wright: The CEO of Wrightspeed on Tesla, gas turbines and electric trucks (2014)