If you forgot that it's trash collection day, you're bound to find out the hard way when you hear the roar of an engine barreling down your road while you're still lying in bed. This sound might be a good reminder to scramble and get the can out to the road, but it is still rude awakening.
At least some of the usual trash truck sounds could be cut down for Chicagoans though as the city is beginning to use a new, all-electric truck.
"[N]o one wants large, noisy truck engines idling next to their house at 6 am when they could have clean, and quieter [electric refuse vehicles] keeping the morning peace instead," Jim Castelaz, CEO of Motiv Power Systems, which created the Motiv Electric Refuse Vehicle, said in a statement.
The addition of the truck to the fleet makes Chicago the first city with an all-electric garbage truck, which a news release stated will save more than 2,600 gallons of fuel each year.
"The City in a Garden is proud to be home to North America's first all-electric refuse and recycling truck, and we look forward to examining how this truck can boost efficiency, reduce emissions and save tax payer dollars in the future," David Reynolds, commissioner of the city's department of fleet and facility management, said in a statement.
Unlike electric cars, electric trash trucks are a bit more demanding on energy. According to the news release, they need to have a 60-mile range, the ability to tote around nine tons and boast 1,000 pounds per cubic yard of compaction. To accommodate these needs, 10 battery packs give the truck up to 200 kilowatt-hours of energy. At full charge, the truck can run for eight hours.
"By developing our electric trucks in collaboration with existing diesel truck manufacturers, we build vehicles that are just as tough and capable as the diesel versions these partners build," John Knudtson, the company's vice president of business development, said. "We are leveraging the expertise of existing truck manufacturers. They can offer electric options of their existing trucks, to their existing customers, and service them with their existing infrastructure. The Chicago ERV is illustrative of this unique business model and is applicable throughout the US in many different truck segments."
The city is slated to receive about 20 electric refuse vehicles in total within the next five years.
Motiv's technologies are also used to create electric school buses and other trucks. The company ranked 240 out of 5,000 in Inc.com's list of the fastest growing private companies of 2014.
Chicago is no stranger to turning to green tech to take care of its refuse. Back in 2011, it signed a $2.5 million deal with BigBelly Solar, which makes solar-powered trash compactors. According to the Chicago Sun Times at the time, these trash compactors that run off energy harnessed from the sun can hold five times more trash than typical garbage cans.
Other U.S. cities, including New York City, and other countries have deployed some of these trash compactors as well.