Sacramento Is Electrifying Its Garbage Pick-Up

Later this year, the electric revolution is coming to Sacramento—in the form of an all-electric garbage truck, the first in the state of California.


The vehicle’s purchase is being covered by a state grant, according to Capital Public Radio, which reports that half of the vehicles operated by Sacramento already operate on alternative fuels.

Photo: PRNewsire
Photo: PRNewsire

Sacramento’s not the first city to adopt an electric vehicle for garbage pick-up. Chicago tested it out before, as did New York City. It also comes on the tails of a high-profile period for trash: last month, Volvo deployed a very yellow autonomous garbage truck into the streets Sweden.

Sacramento said its electric trash grabber has to meet the demand of its standard diesel brethren, according to a press release: three routes per day, handling trash, recycling and “green waste” in a section of downtown Sacramento. The truck is equipped with 10 battery packs, the release says, and can utilize 12 packs if the city wants to eventually deploy it for a larger route.

Sacramento estimates it’ll save upward of 6,000 gallons of fuel annually with the electric trash vehicle running on residential and recycling routes. The vehicle’s electric powertrain is designed by Motiv Power Systems, the press release says, “using off-the-shelf batteries and motors, which can be fixed and matched to fit the exact size and duty cycle of the electric truck needed.” As Electrek points out, Motiv designs the Ford F-150's plug-in hybrid powertrains.

Capital Public Radio reports the vehicle will arrive in Sacramento in December. Who’d have thought? 2017 is shaping up to be The Year Of Trash.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk



Honestly, garbage trucks and other city vehicles like buses are one of the few - if not only - places where all-electric vehicles would currently work without any real compromise or shoe-horning. Lots of starting and stopping (which allows for lots of regen braking as well as showing off the high starting torque of electric motors), low speeds, short trips, predictable schedules and routes, and a central location that provides all of their infrastructure needs almost makes this a no-brainer.