Lunaz reveals anatomy of UEVs ahead of nationwide rollout

Lunaz Applied Technologies has shared the details of its upcycled electric vehicles ahead of their nationwide rollout.

Following a preliminary development phase, which consumed a total of 240 collective years of intensive development by the brand’s engineering and design functions, Lunaz Applied Technologies (LAT) has met every target outlined in the illustration, in doing so creating the world’s first UEV recycling truck.

The vehicles, which are based on the Mercedes-Benz Econic platform, are cleaner, cheaper and better equipped than their all-new battery electric counterparts, according to LAT. Following the significant inflow of government contracts, these UEVs will be operating recycling collection routes for several councils, including a number of London boroughs.

Early renders of the vehicles feature a 5,162lb ft powertrain fed by batteries that can not only be replaced individually in less than ten minutes but comply to the same rigorous safety standards as the latest EV road cars; between 275kwh and 400kwh of battery capacity for varying route lengths; advanced thermal management that improves range by up to 25%; and proprietary technology that allows these vehicles to not only manage low-speed torque demands but also deliver higher cruising speeds, preventing congestion that can be caused by these vehicles.

Following significant primary research, including participation in several recycling collection rounds close to the recently expanded Lunaz UEV campus in Silverstone, England, safety, comfort and connectivity improvements were made to each UEV, bettering not just the product but the safety and wellbeing of the driver and crew who operate it.

LAT UEVs subsequently use seat padding materials carried over directly from Lunaz Design’s upcycled Bentleys and Rolls-Royces. Likewise, the vinyl seat covering of the end-of-life vehicle is replaced with a hard-wearing but Greenguard Gold, HPD and EPD compliant textile that the Lunaz Design team first encountered during a design reconnaissance trip to the W Hotel in Osaka, Japan, where it was used to cover seating.

In response to further feedback from drivers and crew, cup holders were added for all vehicle occupants, not just drivers, and a shelf was provisioned for wireless and USB device charging, along with a device storage cubby. To support the recyclability and circularity of the UEV, a mounting bar was added across the dashboard for simple removal and refitment of fleet management hardware, avoiding the requirement to drill into the dashboard to fit these devices, in doing so increasing the forward recyclability of the instrument panel component.

The analogue gauges common to the Mercedes-Benz Econic have also been replaced with a 12-inch high-definition driver screen, displaying range, current power usage, route data, powertrain health, battery status and diagnostic information. In addition, two 10-inch displays are connected to form a 20-inch panoramic display. This combines 360-degree bird’s-eye camera views and additional safety views, including blind spots. The outermost screen, which is designed to be operated by crew, contains multimedia and communications functions, including full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

A camera monitoring system also dramatically improves driver awareness. Two assemblies containing three cameras are mounted on the top corners of the UEV, feeding digitised rear-view mirrors. The 14-inch screens that replace the mirrors display not just the rear and blind spots around the UEV but what’s directly in front and below the vehicle, via a dedicated downward-facing camera. The screens also feature object detection, highlighting cyclists, pedestrians and potential hazards to the driver. Unlike standard mirrors, these operate under all conditions, including rain, snow and total darkness, dramatically increasing safety.

David Lorenz, Founder of Lunaz, said: “When we embarked on the Lunaz journey in 2018, it was our mission to upcycle internal combustion engined vehicles of all kinds into clean-air solutions – from Rolls-Royces to refuse trucks. Lunaz Applied Technologies (LAT), a separate arm under the Lunaz brand, began with a rendering of a recycling truck. This outlined not just an incredibly ambitious technological vision for an upcycled electric vehicle (UEV) but a wish list expressed to us first hand by the people who operated them, from service engineers and fleet managers to drivers and crew. I am delighted to confirm that the vision outlined in this rendering has been met across the board and that LAT UEVs will begin their nationwide roll-out imminently.

“In upcycling these end-of-life internal combustion engined commercial and industrial vehicles with our electric powertrain, LAT UEVs are cleaner, less expensive and better equipped than their all-new equivalents. In addition, they are far quieter than their ICE counterparts. These critical vehicles save thousands of tonnes of embedded carbon from landfill and represent a meaningful contribution to private businesses and governments as they strive towards carbon neutrality. Recycling trucks are just the beginning for the Mercedes-Benz Econic platform.”

An independent environmental audit commissioned by LAT confirmed that more than 80% of embedded carbon over total lifetime is saved when upcycling rather than replacing an existing refuse truck with a new EV equivalent. Repurposing these end-of-life vehicles into UEVs that are cleaner, less expensive and better-equipped than their all-new equivalents supports the urgent requirement for fleet operators and governments worldwide to reach carbon neutrality.