Fuel Smarts

Detroit’s New Hybrid Refuse Trucks Now on the Road

February 11, 2013

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Detroit's new hybrid refuse trucks could reduce fuel costs by up to 25% in comparison to conventional refuse trucks. Photo courtesy of the Clean Energy Coalition.
Detroit's new hybrid refuse trucks could reduce fuel costs by up to 25% in comparison to conventional refuse trucks. Photo courtesy of the Clean Energy Coalition.

The City of Detroit in December 2012 took delivery of eight new hybrid refuse trucks with funding assistance from the Clean Energy Coalition’s (CEC) Michigan Green Fleets Program.

The base price of each truck is is $180,000. Clean Energy Coalition provided the City of Detroit with grant funding totaling $40,000 per truck, which covered the additional cost of the hybrid system. The trucks, Mack LEU chassis with Bosch Rexroth hybrid technology system, each cost $220,000.

The Bosch Rexroth hydrostatic regenerative braking (HRB) system installed in each truck operates in parallel with the vehicle’s engine. If there is a problem with the hydraulic system, the truck can still operate. According to Bosch, this could result in fuel savings of up to 25%.

A representative from the City of Detroit’s Department of Public Works said, “The vehicle is turned off while our workers are loading the truck and when the vehicle stops as a traffic light. We expect that a considerable amount of fuel will be saved with the idle-off capability and mileage will be increased.”

According to CEC Project Manager Aaron Champion, the CEC was awarded a Department of Energy grant for $15 million, with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The CEC passed along this grant to 12 project partners for fleet greening implementation and alternative-fuel infrastructure construction; the City of Detroit is one of these partners. Western Michigan University is another partner, receiving funding for the installation of 15 electric vehicle charging stations and a solar array, and for the purchase of five electric and two hybrid vehicles.

Along with the grant funding, the CEC provides the City with assistance in the reimbursement process and instruction about how to provide vehicle data as required by the grant.

The CEC’s latest project beneficial to fleet managers is its “Michigan Fuel Forward” program. The DOE, using ARRA funding, awarded the CEC $500,000 to come up with alternative-fuel vehicle deployment plans for fleets. The CEC will provide no-charge consulting services to public agencies in Michigan looking to green their operations. The CEC will soon issue solicitations for interested parties.

*This article was updated 2/12/13 at 9 a.m. to correct the cost of the trucks. The base price of each truck is $180,000; the hybrid system added an additional $40,000 to the price of each truck.


  1. 1. Mike Scholl [ February 11, 2013 @ 03:13PM ]

    $180,000 per unit? Wow...you'd need to keep it in service for 30 years to see the fuel savings.


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