NYC Sanitation Department ready for Mack’s first electric refuse truck

A copper Bulldog is coming to New York City. The Bulldog is the new identifier for Mack Trucks electric products and will adorn the grille of the Mack LR Electric model that the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) will begin testing on Monday.

The announcement came during a press event at Mack’s Customer Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Thursday. Officials from DSNY attended the briefing. The truck, equipped with a 25-yard Heil body, was heading to New York in the evening for initial testing.

Rocky DiRico, deputy commissioner of DSNY, said the city will begin with some initial analysis of the vehicle on the city’s dynamometer during simulation testing next week. It will then go back to Mack for evaluation and adjustments before the vehicle hits the streets of New York in the second quarter.

A second test vehicle will enter operation with Republic Services in North Carolina later this year. Full testing for New York will take about a year, said Roy Horton, director of product strategy for Mack Trucks.

New York Department of Sanitation Deputy Commissioner Rocky DiRico takes questions in front of the Mack LR Electric refuse truck the city will soon put into operation. It is the first electric refuse truck from Mack to go into operation. (Photo: Brian Straight/FreightWaves)

“We’re going to put this truck through tough applications,” DiRico said, while providing an overview of the DSNY “frontline” fleet, which is 99% Mack vehicles. DSNY has over 6,000 vehicles that handle trash and recycling collection, snow plowing, and other responsibilities. This includes over 3,000 Mack models that are part of the frontline fleet, including 2,346 collection trucks, 562 salt spreaders, 440 street sweepers, 461 wheel loaders and additional light-duty vehicles.  

DSNY will base the Mack LR Electric model at its Brooklyn North 1 garage and test it on local collection routes, driving about 18 miles per day. But DiRico said it’s not the miles that are most important for the vehicle.

“It’s about the hours of operation and the number of stops,” he told FreightWaves. “The distance [it can drive] is contingent on the number of stops.”

Electric is comparable to diesel

Jonathan Randall, senior vice president of North American sales and marketing for Mack Trucks, said the vehicle is “close to weight neutral” compared to a diesel LR model, giving DSNY the ability to collect a full 25 yards of waste daily. The city will collect a number of data points, including uptime, range, miles/kWh, driver feedback, acceleration, payload, regenerative braking, gradeability (hills), state of charge, overall functionality and charging time/duration.

“We fully expect [DSNY] to put it through its paces,” Horton said. “[The feedback] helps us improve the trucks. It’s going to be a learning experience for both of us.”

DiRico said that while NYC sanitation trucks are expected to handle snowplow duty in the winter, this particular model will not have that task initially.

“I don’t expect the truck to plow, but we’re looking at battery technology … and we hope the technology will catch up,” he said. “I think the technology will advance to the point where plowing [is possible]. Ultimately, we have to get to plowing because we can’t have a fleet for collection and one for plowing.”

A look at the transmission for the Mack LR Electric refuse truck. (Photo: Brian Straight/FreightWaves)

The LR Electric features two AC motors with 496 peak horsepower producing 4,051 pounds-foot of torque with a two-speed transmission. It is equipped with a 20,000-pound Mack FXL20 front axle and two Mack S522R 52,000-pound rear axles. Gross vehicle weight is 72,000 pounds.

Powering the vehicle are four lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries and a charging system that features up to 150 kW charging power at 200 amps maximum current. A regenerative braking system that features auto, low and high options gives operators the ability to manage how much energy is captured during braking. DiRico said he thought operators would drive it in high most often.

All accessories are electrically driven, including the 25-yard DuraPack 5000 rear loader.

Mack, NYC have a long partnership

The relationship between Mack Trucks and DSNY dates back more than 25 years and has included a number of milestones and pilot programs. Among those were deployment of the first Mack low entry vehicle in 1999 and the introduction of compressed natural gas in 2001, biodiesel in 2006, hybrid-electric in 2009, dimethyl ether in 2017 and renewable diesel in 2018.

The deployment of electric vehicles is part of DSNY’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2035.

The relationship is also important for other reasons as well.

“It’s a long-standing, long-term collaboration between ourselves and New York,” Horton told FreightWaves. “They have been an excellent partner in many ways. Having a partner like this is invaluable because these guys have the resources to [validate technology].”

Randall echoed those sentiments.

“Not only is it important for Mack, but it’s important for the industry and the fleets that don’t have the resources,” he said. “New York City has the people and financial resources; other fleets don’t have the resources … and [DSNY] takes this responsibility very seriously.”

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand 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. You can reach him at