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Solid Waste Services Awarded Nearly $700,000 to Fund Anchorage’s First Electric Garbage Truck

Jul 21, 2020 | Energy, Government, News, Transportation

Electric garbage truck prototype. The white boxes situated below the body house lithium-ion batteries.

Office of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz

The US Department of Energy has awarded the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Solid Waste Services (SWS) a $689,659 grant to help fund the city’s first electric garbage truck and medium-duty box truck. The grant will also help fund an innovative battery charging system.

The grant was announced Thursday, July 16, as part of $139 million in federal funding for fifty-five projects across the country that will support new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies.

Since 2017, SWS has been evaluating how electric vehicles can be incorporated into its fleet. SWS operates a fleet of seventy vehicles, including twenty-two garbage trucks. Diesel garbage trucks have a low average efficiency of 2 miles per gallon which makes them good candidates for electrification. Replacing a diesel garbage truck with an electric version reduces fuel and maintenance costs, improves air quality and benefits neighborhoods with quieter operations. Electric garbage trucks and heavy-duty vehicles are beginning to be deployed in communities across the country; however, no electric garbage trucks currently operate in Alaska.

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“This is really cool—Anchorage gets to demonstrate innovation and prove sustainability,” said Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. “And hopefully the results of this test will validate technology that has benefits across the state and Circumpolar North.”

SWS is partnering with eCamion, Inc. to test an electric vehicle charging station which incorporates a large battery. The addition of a battery allows for a steady charge at a lower voltage which will reduce demand rates from electric utilities. This system will save the Municipality money while still providing fast charging to electric trucks.

This innovative battery technology will be the first of its kind in the state. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power will conduct a performance analysis of both trucks and the charging station so other fleets in Alaska and the world can learn from this pilot deployment.

“We are excited to be taking our first steps towards electrifying our garbage and recycling trucks, reducing our carbon footprint and improving the overall sustainability of the community,” said SWS General Manager Mark Spafford.

The total cost for deploying the electric vehicles in Anchorage is $1.3 million. SWS is matching the grant with $660,000 in funding that would have gone toward diesel fuel-powered trucks and maintenance. The Alaska Energy Authority is providing $25,000 in matching funds to cover partial costs of an electric vehicle charging station.

The trucks will be deployed in Anchorage in 2021.

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One factor that contributes to successful business operations is the ability to adapt to new situations; rare is the organization that flourishes without changing at all. This year, as we are all acutely aware by now, will go down in history for many, many things including the wide range of methods implemented by businesses as they adapted to the new landscape presented to them by COVID-19.

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