Nikola to turn rubbish collection green with huge electric refuse truck order

Nikola refuse trucks

The start/stop nature of rubbish collection makes electric powertrains a good choice for refuse trucks, and Phoenix-based Republic Services is tapping into zero (local) emission vehicles in a big way.

The second largest non-hazardous solid waste collection provider in the US has just ordered 2,500 battery-electric waste trucks from Nikola.

The rubbish-collecting trucks will be based on Nikola’s Tre battery-electric powertrain, and are each expected to have 720 kWh of energy storage on board for up to 150 miles between charges. Nikola equates this to around 1,200 trash cans emptied.

The powertrain will be software limited to 1,000 horses. Nikola fully expects the trucks to offer improved performance and higher torque than diesel or natural gas trucks, with figures of up to three times the horsepower being mentioned to allow them to tackle hills while fully loaded with relative ease. As well as not belching out diesel fumes while crawling through a neighborhood, the electric trash trucks should be quieter too.

Road testing has been penciled in for early 2022, and once production is in full swing, the truck chassis and body will be sent out directly to Republic Services, with the order including an option to buy up to 5,000 more trucks if things go well.

“This is a game changer,” said Nikola CEO, Mark Russell. “Refuse truck customers have always ordered chassis from truck OEMs and bodies from other suppliers. Nikola has fully integrated the chassis and body, covering both with a single factory warranty. Trucks will include both automated side loaders and front-end loaders – all of which will be zero-emission.”