16 April 2022

Quick - get the bins out! A silent garbage truck is rolling through Canberra

| James Coleman
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Electric garbage truck

There won’t be the traditional warning with the electric garbage truck. Photo: Transport Canberra and City Services.

An electric garbage truck is currently rolling through Canberra’s streets as part of a trial for clean and quiet waste collection.

The roar of the truck engine in the morning might be the cue to leap out of bed and run the bins out to the end of the driveway, but residents won’t be getting so much warning from this converted Hino.

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the government is assessing how the ACT can move to zero emissions trucks for waste collection.

READ ALSO Stamp duty exemption to extend to used EVs ‘imminently’

“Zero emissions technology has advanced significantly for heavy vehicles, and we want to be ready to bring on new waste trucks to provide cleaner, quieter waste and recycling services to the Canberra community,” he said.

“This two-week trial will provide an understanding of the features and benefits of using zero emissions technology for heavy commercial vehicles.”

Garbage collection unit

The garbage collection unit is from Bucher Municipal and the converted Hino truck from SEA Electric. Photo: Transport Canberra and City Services.

The truck started out in life as a conventional diesel-powered Hino FE 1426, but was converted to electric power by the Melbourne-based companies Bucher Municipal and SEA Electric.

Bucher Municipal provides specialist fittings and equipment for urban service vehicles across the world, while SEA Electric has made a name for itself retrofitting electric drivetrains into existing Hino vehicles.


The truck has a range of 190 km, when empty. Photo: Transport Canberra and City Services.

Bucher Municipal Regional sales manager Darren Gear described their Bucher UR11 rear loader fitted to the Hino FE chassis as “the cutting edge of EV technology”.

“Our company believes in solving challenges with key partnerships through technology and we strive to develop new equipment that meet environmental outcomes for now and into the future,” he said.

When empty, the truck has a range of 190 km. It can be charged to full within eight hours.

Electric truck in action

Doing the dirty work. Photo: Transport Canberra and City Services.

The vehicle will be based at the government’s Allara Street depot in Civic, which has already been fitted with the necessary charging infrastructure following an earlier electric tipper truck trial.

Mr Steel said tackling climate change in the ACT means electrifying private and public transport “as soon as we can”.

“We’ve already kick-started this transition with 12 battery electric buses joining Transport Canberra’s fleet this year and a further 90 e-buses on the way.”

READ ALSO New plug-in hybrid fire truck blazes a trail for zero-emission emergency vehicles in the ACT

The ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) is also expected to take delivery of Australia’s first plug-in diesel-electric hybrid fire truck soon.

In November last year, Canberra’s garbage trucks were at the centre of a $19,800 deal with tech start-up Frontline Data Systems, designed to combat the rise of potholes in the suburbs.

Under the pilot program, Suez garbage trucks were equipped with cameras that scanned the road as the trucks drive along each day on their pre-assigned household collection routes. The data was then uploaded at the end of each day and fed back to Roads ACT repair crews, who could then prioritise their work schedules to ensure the most dangerous problems got fixed first.

According to Transport Canberra and City Services, the results of this trial are still being evaluated.

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Felix the Cat7:10 pm 17 Apr 22


Designed for around town use, rather than the highway
Range will depend on payload and fit-out, but will mostly fall between 200 and 350km
Power and torque figures are 108kW and 1000Nm to 125kW and 1500Nm.
SEA trucks are about 2.5 times more expensive to buy. So, for a conventional four-tonne truck costing $50,000, the SEA equivalent will be closer to $125,000.
The electric motor has no gearbox and is a simple, one-moving-part deal. Crucially, the maintenance that is required involves no oil apart form a differential oil-change about every 100,000km.
The eTruck’s ability to regenerate power when slowing means that the vehicle’s brake rotors, drums and linings last a lot longer. In fact, at least twice as long according to SEA’s test drivers.
Battery packs are designed to last at least a decade and SEA Electric offers a three-year/150,000km warranty as well as a five-year battery warranty and three years of roadside assistance.

Capital Retro11:19 am 17 Apr 22

“Fantastic progress and further reduces our reliance upon imported fuel” says Ian McCleod.

I think you are wrong Ian because the garbage (and recycling) trucks used in Canberra run on Rattenbury Australian made approved B20 – it’s a condition of the contract.


Yet again the anti electric crew are out in force with their predictions on why electric won’t work and all the problems moving towards electric will bring. Along with the usual calls of virtue signalling and it’s all labor and the greens fault.

Not realising of course that electric vehicles like this are in regular use in other parts of the world without great issue. And even more surprisingly brought in by political parties that are more aligned with the Australian liberals rather than Australia Labor or the greens.

It’s about time some of these people wake up to themselves and realise the vast majority of the developed world is heading in this direction.

Electrically powered, but certainly not emissions free. You forget the dirty little secret of mining and processing the rare earth metals to manufacture the batteries. Not exactly a green and clean process. Oh yes, Solar and wind to store power to recharge the trucks. Those industries have their dirty little secrets as well. Plenty of articles online. Nothing manufactured is emissions free. Follow the money to the Green fraud carpetbaggers

Electric vehicles cost about 10 times the price, which is why we rent them.

If we hadn’t noticed already we have a contract for waste collection typically with contacts you don’t have to manage the ins and outs of whatever the contractor uses.

So how is this used? we’re paying 10x the price to rent a vehicle to do something we already contracted out someone else to do?

I assume that the half rubbish collection is because we can’t afford the expensive battery tech for each week? which is still coal powered.

Oh look, a truck manufactured by solar and wind. No mining involved for batteries, no steelworks to manufacture the body. About as zero emissions free as Al Gore’s private jet

Having trouble separating one idea from another, Futureproof?
Although you are probably right that eventually most energy used in manufacture will be generated by wind, solar and others among less damaging sources. Aside from that energy question, removing mineralised rock from the ground does not inherently change the atmospheric mix.

Sorry phydeaux, if I didn’t go to Google Scholar to provide the 15 required links to peer reviewed articles to satisfy your thirst for knowledge. Will I do that next time? Nah. I love your responses. Those collars must be getting hot

No problem Futureproof, no need to add proofs of so visible an error. 🙂

Come on now Futureproof. Be fair. The test vehicle is recycled from an existing frame. The only expensive addition is the EV drive components and the battery and the cost of conversion. May as well have built a new vehicle. OK you got me there. Getting the components for manufacturing such a large battery (if they are not being manufactured in China using the rare earth minerals of which China is currently the principal supplier or they acquire from exploiting developing nations – come on Australia we know you have these minerals just not the courage to invest in new technology) is an issue. Maybe we could add a sail to the truck for windy days or perhaps it could be solar powered or perhaps only parked on hills and use gravity. Only kidding, the truck is a good idea that needs refinement.

phydeaux, Earthdog – you guys – now my brain hurts. Enjoy the Public holiday today

Can’t see this type of truck ever used for suburban household bins.
Either the driver has to get out and drag the bins to the back of the truck and then back off the road or every truck will have to have at least one offsider to do it.

“this type of truck”
Perspicacious to the literal. Not so much to the point.
Probably another case of looking at the title and pretty pictures rather than reading the article.

Capital Retro4:23 pm 16 Apr 22

Is this where all the new jobs will come from “renewables industries”?

Even the pop-up “automatic” plastic bottle deposit refund blot on the landscape at Erindale Shops carpark has a full time attendant.

Very high-tech indeed.

Think it is fairly obvious this truck has no been configured for suburban collection. This type of truck is used for unit blocks and street bins. No reason why a residential compactor with a side lift couldn’t be installed on the back of the thing.

Capital Retro7:12 pm 16 Apr 22

Not obvious to the person who wrote the story, JC.

David Riddell10:54 pm 16 Apr 22

The writer (hgak) is talking about the use of the vehicle in a domestic waste collection setting and the article implies such use in the 2nd paragraph at least. However, I did like your use of a “big word” and had to look it up, so thanks for that.

Tomorrow’s word is EVangelism

Larry O'Loughlin9:46 am 16 Apr 22

This is a great initiative as we will need zero emission trucks if we are to collect and process food organics to reduce landfill emissions. If we have a facility that creates more emissions then maybe we shouldn’t build it unless we use electric trucks which would be a solution

Capital Retro2:33 pm 16 Apr 22

Are you still working for the Greens, Larry?

David Riddell10:07 pm 16 Apr 22

IMHO regardless of his political affiliations his comment makes little sense.

David Riddell10:20 pm 16 Apr 22

Does it matter? IMHO regardless of his political affiliations his comment makes little sense.

Capital Retro8:17 pm 17 Apr 22

Which sort of confirms he is still working for the Greens.

Larry O'Loughlin8:58 am 16 Apr 22

This is a great initiative as we will need zero emission trucks if we are to collect and process food organics to reduce landfill emissions. If we have a facility that creates more emissions then maybe we shouldn’t build it so electric trucks would be a solution

Sometimes it’s better to hear a monster coming so you can get out of the way -nothing worse than a silent assassin.You can tell this with noisy motorbikes -you know they are there alongside your car!

The coal powered garbage truck!

Capital Retro3:43 pm 16 Apr 22

Exactly, Australia still gets over 60% of its electricity from efficient, 24/7 coal power.

This is nothing but political spin.

If there was any real benefit in converting this garbage truck from diesel to electric, the Government wouldn’t be buying new electric buses. They’d be converting the existing fleet.

Capital Retro6:04 pm 15 Apr 22

This truck is not configured for kerbside pick-ups so it won’t be “rolling through the Canberra suburbs”, only some places in the city. Bins have to be manually attached to the rear lifting mechanism.

But nothing like a bit of virtue signaling, eh?

David Riddell12:30 pm 16 Apr 22

Yep, when SA trialled the use of EVs it at least used a modified truck with side lifter in a suburban setting.

Wow that’s your take Capital? Think you are loosing the plot if that’s all you took out of the article.

Capital Retro8:47 pm 16 Apr 22

We obviously don’t think the same way.

David Riddell9:54 pm 16 Apr 22

The article is confusing as it references the impact a silent waste collection vehicle may have on residents. The EV pictured/referenced is not nor will it used in a domestic settling. So sure, the government is looking at how effective an EV small 10cm rear lifting waste collection vehicle could be used in a commercial setting and media have got it wrong again.

David Riddell10:01 pm 16 Apr 22

The article can be confusing for some people as it references the impact a silent waste collection vehicle may have on residents. However, the EV pictured/referenced is not, nor will it ever be used in a domestic settling. So sure, the government is looking at how effective an EV small 10cm rear lifting waste collection vehicle could be used in a commercial setting and media have got it wrong again.

Capital Retro11:26 am 15 Apr 22

They appear to still be using hydraulic lifters which of course use fossil oil?

Yes, they are conserving oil in practical uses, instead of incinerating it in a truck.
In further good news for you, I have checked, and you will still be able to buy Brylcreem.

A little dab’ll do ya

Capital Retro6:45 am 16 Apr 22

And you will still be able to buy your favourite gel.

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