Motiv ePCS to power heavy electric trucks in Chicago

  • 27-Nov-2012 04:01 EST
Motiv ePCS garbage truck.jpg

Weighing 52,000 lb, the Motiv-powered electric refuse trucks in Chicago will have a range of more than 60 mi (97 km), with a total energy storage of 200 kW·h.

San Francisco Bay Area-based startup Motiv Power Systems has been chosen to supply its scalable electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) to the City of Chicago for 20 all-electric garbage trucks, under an exclusive five-year, $13.4 million contract. The City of Chicago operates 600 garbage trucks in total. The ePCS uses off-the-shelf batteries and motors that can be configured to power medium-duty to Class 8 heavy-duty EV trucks, weighing from 15,000 to 52,000 lb (6800 to 23,500 kg). This design approach can cut operating costs by 50% over an eight-year period, according to Motiv. The company, which was founded in 2009, has been validating its ePCS since March 2012 with an all-electric pilot bus. Funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission, the 20-passenger bus contains five battery packs (125 kW·h) providing a range of more than 120 mi (193 km) on a single charge. The Motiv EV refuse trucks planned for Chicago will use the same ePCS system as the pilot bus, but with a larger motor and 10 battery packs, and will also employ an electric motor to drive the hydraulics system. Motiv will work with partner Detroit Chassis to install the ePCS onto a standard refuse chassis; Loadmaster will provide the truck bodies. Weighing 52,000 lb (23,500 kg), the EV refuse trucks will reportedly have a range of more than 60 mi (97 km), with a total energy storage of 200 kW·h. (Go to to read about another recent electrified refuse truck project.)

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