Even though New York City is still producing too much waste, and trash collection is not the root of this over consumptive evil, a recent, wittily-titled Times article suggests that the city may be in a position to help develop more environmentally sound waste removal practices.
The New York City Department of Sanitation is currently testing a small fleet of uniquely designed electric-diesel hybrid garbage trucks in order to discern which model is the most efficient and the most cost effective. The testing will take about a year, with the ultimate goal being to choose a truck design worthy of purchasing a veritable armada of 300 trucks.
These new Green trucks do it just like the old ones, but better: they hold up to 13 tons of trash in the hopper; the dashboard hasn’t been changed at all so as not to confuse anyone; and they still stop and idle right outside your first floor apartment window at 4 in the morning providing free concierge wake-up calls just like you asked them to. The key difference is that they are equipped with a 120 kilowatt electric engine, fed by a 500 pound lithium ion battery (recharged partially by breaking inertia), all of which is hooked into a 6 cylinder diesel engine. The new trucks reduce fuel needs by roughly 30 percent which will also save the city millions of Bloomberg fun bucks, which aren’t real money anyway, so we guess that doesn’t matter. And according to the article the drivers seem to be all for it as the trucks handle better and accelerate more easily, making picking up the trash more exciting and fun.
Anyway, the important point here is that a couple of different companies, including Mack Trucks (a part of Volvo) and Crane Carrier, are competing to build a better and more efficient truck which means that they are interested in this, which means that they think they can make money, which is very, very good indeed. Money means research, and research means better stuff. Big trucks consume a huge portion of the fuel spent in America, and perhaps focusing on hybridizing and curtailing their consumption would be a better first step to going green than starting with low mileage commuter cars. It makes sense right? Go big or go home.
And, if nothing else, the new trucks look prettier and promote culture because they have art on the side.