Friday 27 November 2020

Dennis Eagle launches all-electric RCV

What is claimed to be the first OEM production electrically-powered refuse collection vehicle in the world is being launched by British manufacturer Dennis Eagle.

The eCollect is based on the best-selling Dennis Elite Narrow 6×2 chassis-cab, with an Olympus OL19 Narrow body and Terberg Omi automatic split lift, and is built from scratch at Dennis Eagle’s plant in Warwick.

It has been specifically designed to collect 20 tonnes of waste on an eight-hour urban shift before recharging is required. Battery choice is key to this, and five packs of lithium ion batteries, each with 12 cells to a pack, are installed under the body with care being taken to ensure optimum weight distribution, which is always critical on an RCV where much of the body weight is concentrated behind the rear axle.

Together, the batteries provide 300 kW/h of power for the eCollect’s 200 kW motor. They are designed for the same service life as the rest of the vehicle, and are purchased with it, but Dennis Eagle is committed to ensuring their safe disposal at end of life. They are covered by a three-year warranty.

Recharging typically takes six or seven hours, depending upon battery state at end of shift. Dennis Eagle cautions that the longer the batteries are given on-charge, the better the charge will balance between individual cells. Partial recharging will not damage the batteries, but Dennis Eagle recommends that they are periodically charged to the maximum to prolong their lives.

The vehicle does not have an on-board charger, as the work patterns of an RCV mean it returns to base every night. There are two charger options available to the operator: mobile and fixed.

A mobile unit requires a three-phase, 63 amp (415 volt) industrial supply to the charger, and the charger output is 600 volts DC, 40 kW with a CCS2 connection to the vehicle.

Fixed units are wired into the building’s mains supply but the building will need at least 63 amps available per vehicle, and still needs to output 600 volts DC, 40 kW with a CCS2 connection to the vehicle.

Operational testing in a wide range of UK weather conditions has not revealed any significant variations in endurance in relation to ambient temperature, but constant use of the cab air-conditioning or heating system will consume 40 kW/h. this equates to 15 per cent of battery capacity over an eight-hour shift.

Typically, the eCollect has had over 30 per cent of charge left on return to depot after an eight-hour urban shift, including the collection of two full loads and travelling to the tip to empty them.

A complete discharge will damage the batteries, so the vehicle has a built in ‘reserve’ mode which warns the driver when charge falls to a pre-determined level. Motor torque is reduced to conserve power, enabling the eCollect to ‘limp’ to the depot for recharging.

The eCollect is claimed to be the world’s ‘most connected’ RCV, being factory-fitted with an enhanced version of the Dennis Eagle DE-Connect telematics system. The software was specifically designed for the waste and recycling industry, and has enhanced features covering all aspects of battery condition and electric drivetrain use.

A live five-camera system is optional, providing the driver with an all-round view of the vehicle’s surroundings and the crew’s working area. A solid-state drive stores up to two-months’ worth of footage and features ‘crash reconstruction’ playback. Footage can also easily be live-streamed or downloaded to the depot. This is integrated into the DE-Connect system.

Claimed advantages for the eCollect over a diesel equivalent include reduced local air pollution and CO2 emissions, lower running costs, and reduced noise in operation. Maintenance costs will be comparable to those of a diesel RCV. While there are fewer parts to maintain, specialist electrical system maintenance will be required from Dennis Eagle’s aftermarket team.

For the foreseeable future, only HV-trained Dennis Eagle engineers will be authorised to work on the high-voltage components of the vehicle, but suitable training will also be offered to customers in due course.

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