Geesinknorba produces the world’s first all-electric RCV


The world’s first fully-electric, rear-loading refuse collection vehicle (RCV) – the Li-On Power Pro – has been launched by Geesinknorba, offering major savings on emissions and running costs.

The vehicle is the result of a collaboration between the RCV body and lift manufacturer Geesinknorba and Dutch electric chassis specialists Emoss.

Both the chassis and the body of this vehicle are powered by lithium ion batteries mounted beneath the loading body so the weight is optimally distributed. It operates with the energy-saving GPM IV body, developed by Geesinknorba and launched in the UK in 2015.

The company estimates that a typical, conventionally powered RCV will consume around 70 litres of diesel fuel a day, adding up to the annual emission of 52 tonnes of CO2, 160kg of CO and 380kg of NOX gases. In comparison, the Li-On Power Pro will produce none of these directly. Instead, its batteries will be charged by electricity which, of course, could have been produced by burning fossil fuels or could gave come from entirely renewable sources – even wind turbines at the operator’s own depot.

And this leaves the cost of running the Li-On Power Pro at around a tenth of the cost of running a traditional diesel-powered vehicle.

The new RCV has been designed for urban environments with short journeys between collections and shorter overall routes. An increasing number of towns and cities in the UK are introducing low emission zones which the Li-On Power Pro is eminently suited to as it doesn’t emit any CO2 and NOX gases or any particulates associated with health and environmental issues.

In addition to this, the Li-On Power Pro hardly produces any noise, making this vehicle very useful for operators collecting early in the morning or later at night. Extending the working hours of vehicles, of course, can reduce the number of vehicles needed.

Geesinknorba’s UK Business Director Mick Hill said: “Once more, Geesinknorba is at the forefront of innovation in the waste and recycling industry.

“More than 200 towns and cities in 14 countries across Europe already operate or are about to introduce low emission zones (LEZ).

“In the UK, London introduced its LEZ in 2008 and will introduce its ultra-LEZ in 2019. Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton are all planning to introduce clean air zones (CAZ) and many more are likely to follow.

“The company has long believed that we needed an alternative to diesel fuel that was cheaper, cleaner and more sustainable. Unlike others, however, we’ve not just talked about it but gone out and done something.

“Our Li-On technology is tried, tested and proven in successfully powering the lifting, compacting and packing mechanisms of our hybrid vehicles. Now, we’ve reached the point where we are ready to introduce an all-electric vehicle.

“Thanks to our collaboration with Emoss, we have been able to produce a vehicle which is powered entirely from electricity stored in batteries. Depending on how you go about recharging your batteries, that could be from totally renewable sources where health issues from particulates or emission gases are totally removed from the equation.

“Battery-powered vehicles are also much more environmentally-friendly. They are more energy-efficient – there’s no revving-up of the engine needed before you lift or compact or tip your load. Consequently, they are quieter too, and so can be used at times and in places where diesel vehicles would cause a disturbance.

“They have fewer parts to go wrong and so are less prone to wear-and-tear and are potentially cheaper to operate in the long-run.

“There’s no diesel cost, no AdBlue cost, they can operate in zero emission zones – in fact, the way many UK cities feel right now, the local council would probably give you a ticker-tape welcome!

“The limiting factor for a vehicle like this, of course, is the amount of energy a heavily-laden RCV needs to drive it over longer routes. But we’ve overcome that to the point where this vehicle is now ready to go into action.

“There are several aspects of the Li-On Power Pro that make the sums add up: firstly, while the weight and space of batteries is significant, battery-powered vehicles don’t need heavy diesel engines, AdBlue tanks, fuel tanks or the weight of liquids they carry either.

“Secondly, energy efficiency was also one of the cornerstones in the design of our GPMIV body which was made to be as light as possible without compromising strength or durability. It has proven to be hugely popular in the UK.

“And finally, put this together with our Li-On technology and the cleverly designed chassis and what we have is a vehicle that is ready to enter the market. I’m hoping to show it off first to operators in urban environments where it doesn’t have to travel as far between charges.

“How it is used there will determine how long it lasts between charges but, as battery technology continues to improve, the routes operators will choose to use the Li-On Power Pro on will become longer and longer.”

The first Li-On Power Pro has been operating in Spain where it is still undergoing trials. But such is the magnitude of this breakthrough that there is a real appetite for the technology in the UK and two long-standing Geesinknorba customers have already placed orders. One will take delivery of a Li-On Power Pro later this year but the other has resulted in a slightly different illustration of how the technology could be implemented.

After discussions with Geesinknorba, the NRG Group set up a new company – Electra – to offer this technology to its own customer base. But instead of using Emoss’s own chassis, they decided to modify a vehicle they had already ordered from Geesinknorba to make it all-electric. This meant mounting Geesinknorba’s electric body on a conventional Mercedes chassis and replacing the diesel engine the lithium-ion battery packs and associated technology.

This vehicle itself was unveiled at Future Fleet Forum 2018 in London’s Guildhall in January and made an immediate impact.

“The vehicle generated a huge amount of interest and we’re already talking to more customers in the UK – both private and public sector – about how we can make it work for them,” said Mick Hill.

“The environmental, health and cost pressures on operators in the UK are enormous and are only going to increase but this technology provides a relatively simple solution. The benefits are clear for everyone to see.”

Geesinknorba’s Li-On Power Pro

How it works

  • Geesinknorba’s Li-On Power Pro is the world’s first all-electric rear-loading refuse collection vehicle (RCV).
  • Developed from hybrid vehicles which Geesinknorba has been producing for more than a decade.
  • The energy required by an RCV does several things, mainly:
    • lifts the bins and tips their contents into the body
    • moves and compacts the load
    • tips the load out when the vehicle is ready to be emptied
    • and drives the vehicle around the collection round and to the place it will be emptied
  • Now lithium-ion batteries have been developed which can do all of these things without the help of a diesel engine.
  • While the limiting factor for electric vehicles has always been their range, the Li-On Power Pro is totally suitable for waste collections in urban environments which have characteristically short journeys between collection points and shorter overall routes.


What else makes the sums add up?

  • While batteries have got smaller, several other weight reductions the sums add up, including:
    • No heavy diesel engine.
    • No AdBlue tank.
    • No fuel tanks.
    • No diesel or AdBlue liquids.
  • Regenerative braking system.
  • Energy efficiency is one of the key features of the GPMIV body used on this vehicle which was launched in 2015.
  • These vehicles have fewer parts to go wrong and so are potentially cheaper to maintain.


The benefits

  • Unlike diesel, the Li-On Power Pro doesn’t emit any CO2, CO or NOX gases or the particulates associated with health and environmental issues.
    • Compared with a typical diesel-powered vehicle, this cuts emissions by around 52 tonnes of CO2, 160kg of CO and 380kg of NOX gases every year.
    • It makes it eminently suitable for low emission zones (LEZs) and clean air zones (CAZs).
    • It could even be recharged from a renewable energy source eg wind turbine.
  • It hardly produces any noise, so operators could use it to collect earlier in the morning or later at night.
    • Extending the working hours of vehicles can enable operators to reduce their fleet size.
  • With no diesel or AdBlue costs, operating costs are estimated to be around 10% of a comparable conventional vehicle’s.


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