Mack announces electric refuse truck; Freightliner introduces new model

The Freightliner EconicSD is based on a Mercedes-Benz model popular in Europe but features over 100 modifications to customize it for North America.

Mack Trucks and Freightliner Trucks both made major equipment announcements this week at the WasteExpo trade show in Las Vegas.

Mack said it will have a fully electric Mack LR refuse truck model with an integrated Mack electric drivetrain operating in North America in 2019. The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY will test the demonstration vehicle.

Freightliner introduced its new EconicSD low-entry, cab-over-engine waste collection truck.

In making its announcement, Mack said that fully electric vehicles make the most sense right now in closed loop applications where the truck returns home every night.

“It’s clear that electromobility will be a part of the trucking industry’s future, and Mack is well-positioned to offer integrated, fully electric solutions for the North American market,” said Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Mack Trucks North America. “DSNY is one of Mack’s largest customers, and the department is known for its progressive sustainability efforts. We look forward to working with them as we test the first fully electric LR model in a real-world application.”

New York City’s vehicle fleet operations are among the largest and most aggressive in terms of testing alternative power and fueled-vehicles.

“The New York City DSNY looks forward to extending our long-standing partnership with Mack Trucks through the testing of the electric LR,” said Rocky DiRico, New York City DSNY deputy commissioner. “Sustainability is extremely important to the DSNY, and we consistently test new technology to help New York City reach its goal of 80% reduced emissions by 2050.”

Freightliner’s EconicSD is a new entry to the market and features bodies from Heil Environmental (front loader) and McNeilus Truck & Manufacturing (rear loader). The cab and chassis are designed and manufactured in Daimler’s truck plant in Woeth, Germany, based on the popular Mercedes-Benz Econic refuse vehicle. Final assembly takes place at the Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. facility in Gaffney, SC. More than 125 modifications have been made to optimize the truck for North America, the company said.

“By working closely with our North American waste collection customers and analyzing how we could provide a solution that best benefits their businesses, we recognized the opportunity to adapt the Freightliner EconicSD for this market,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO for Daimler Trucks North America. “Our customers continually seek to elevate the safety and performance of their waste collection vehicles, and the Freightliner EconicSD is the right solution for the distinct needs of this segment.” 

Powered by the new Detroit DD8 mid-range engine, the Freightliner EconicSD offers 350 hp. and 1,050 lbs.-ft. of torque. It also features Detroit’s Connect Virtual Technician remote diagnostic service for maximized uptime and productivity.

“The robust design and the technological achievements found with the DD8 engine make it well suited for the demands associated with waste collection,” noted Jeff Allen, senior vice president, operations and specialty vehicles for Daimler Trucks North America. “The Freightliner EconicSD and the DD8 make a durable and efficient combination.”

The truck is equipped with the Detroit Assurance suite of safety systems such as active brake assist, adaptive cruise control and lane departure. Optional safety features include side guard assist and a built-in camera system with 360-degree views displayed on a flat screen dash monitor.

The truck features both a kneeling feature and lifting feature to lower or raise the cab height as needed.

“Waste collection vehicle drivers and passengers are in and out of their trucks all day. The Freightliner EconicSD’s ergonomic design reduces fatigue and provides a more comfortable and productive work environment,” said Allen.

Seating options allow for up to three passengers in the “high cab” model.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.