Commercial Vehicle News

Econ Engineering launches worlds first fully electric critter

Econ Engineering has joined forces with UK highways specialist Ringway to create the world’s first full-electric gritting lorry.

The E-QCB (Electric Quick Change Body), a 19-tonne Volvo FE Electric, spearheads this transformative initiative. Its adaptability offers demountable body options like a gritter, tipper, or caged body, with a swift 15-minute transition between modes.

Speaking about the new machine, Jonathan Lupton, Managing Director at Econ Engineering, said: “We have spent a long time developing the E-QCB, undertaking comprehensive redesigns and trials across the UK, to ensure that we can offer a fully electric solution for our customers that can be used 52 weeks a year.”

Over 300 local authorities in the UK have declared a climate emergency. Yorkshire-based Econ Engineering, a pivotal player in winter maintenance and highways vehicles manufacturing, steps up to the challenge with the E-QCB.

This revolutionary vehicle doesn’t just promise sustainability; it delivers adaptability with alternative battery configurations, ensuring optimal range and payload. The E-QCB can achieve a full charge in less than two hours, contingent on infrastructure, and offers a range of up to 170 miles, depending on load and road conditions.

During an extensive demonstration tour across the UK, the E-QCB showcased its capabilities in diverse conditions. From gritting snow-laden routes in Yorkshire to aiding a royal procession in London and manoeuvring through urban streets in Scotland for refuse collection, the vehicle garnered endorsements and praise.

Dave olley, operations manager at ringway said:  “Ringway Hertfordshire is committed to delivering a sustainable service. Working with Econ Engineering we trialled the fully electric E-QCB multi-purpose vehicle and are now looking forward to adding it to our fleet and putting it to use on the UK’s road network.”

Christian Coolsaet, Managing Director of volvo trucks UK & Ireland, added his thoughts, saying: “Every part of the transport sector needs to have its sights set on achieving net zero, and gritting and snowploughing is no exception. The team at Econ has developed an exceptional new product with our FE Electric chassis at its heart; this is going to allow gritter fleets to reap the benefits of operating cleaner, quieter and more efficient trucks.”

North Yorkshire Council subjected the E-QCB to rigorous testing. On a cold, snowy day at Sutton Bank, known for its challenging 1 in 4 hill gradient and tight bends. The vehicle impressed with two 40-mile gritting runs.

In urban and hilly settings, the E-QCB underwent thorough evaluation by the City of Edinburgh Council, receiving accolades for its “simple effortless drive” and “excellent build quality.” The council expressed a keen desire to include the electric vehicle in its fleet.

Glasgow City Council tested the E-QCB on a demanding 90-mile gritting route in urban Glasgow, carrying an eight-ton payload. Impressively, it returned with 13% battery life after the task and 47% after a 50-mile route. A council spokesperson remarked that the vehicle “exceeded expectations” with “excellent build quality.”

The City of Bradford District Council explored the vehicle’s flexible attributes on different routes, utilizing both the tipper and gritter body. The council spokesperson was pleasantly surprised, noting it as a “great drive” that was “quiet and comfortable.”

In the heart of London, the E-QCB laid sand across the streets in preparation for the State Opening of Parliament, covering 66 miles in an urban environment. It finished the task with a 51% battery charge, further highlighting its impressive capabilities.

These real-world tests underscore the E-QCB’s adaptability and reliability across diverse terrains and tasks. The positive reception from councils across the UK positions the electric gritter as a promising solution for sustainable winter maintenance on the nation’s roads.

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