What's the best electric vehicle for collecting rubbish? | Top Gear
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What's the best electric vehicle for collecting rubbish?

It's not just cars that will have to go electric – thankfully Lunaz is on the case with its new recycled bin lorry

Published: 15 Feb 2023

We’re all going to have to make the transition to electric powered vehicles at some point in the vaguely near future, if our political betters are able to follow through with their threats to force the move. And of course we’d all love to do our bit to help the planet remain habitable for non-swimmers and animals that fare better in snow. 

The microhabitat that makes up Britain’s roads is made up of more than brief trips to the supermarket and taking the kids to their extracurricular activities, mind. Delivery drivers are already starting to make the switch – that low down slug of e-motor torque is perfect for making a speedy getaway having booted a fragile package through an open upstairs window – but there are all sorts of others who will have to do it too. 

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Fire fighters will need electric engines to extinguish house fires and rescue cats, presumably plugging into the charge points that will have to be installed next to hydrants. Street sweepers will need to go electric too, and a whole new generation of children won’t know the Pavlovian reaction of jonesing for a soft-serve ice cream when they get a face full of diesel fumes. Meanwhile the milkman is looking smug having never traded in his wheezy little electric float. 

A particularly tricksy issue will be picking up all the household detritus we’ll all continue to produce at a hectic pace – it can’t ship itself to get dumped halfway round the world now can it? And while we do rather like the idea of the sanitation engineers from our crash-strapped local authority popping round to grab bin bags and the food waste in a nice MG ZS with the seats down, they’ll definitely need a bigger boat after three houses. 

Which is where the enterprising folks at Lunaz will step in, with a Mercedes Econic bin lorry that’s been heavily bleached and swapped to electric power. As it turns out, it’s not just old classics that can be restomodded – though no word on what work Lunaz has done to improve the ride and handling of the old truck, but cupholders and 360-degree cameras have been fitted. The electrified version of the refuse collection lorry even doubles the amount of torque available – 5,000lb ft versus the 1,033lb ft that were available from the old diesel engine that’s presumably been left out in the wheelie bin. 

The virtue of the Lunaz bin lorry is that it apparently costs the same as a diesel bin lorry, which is significantly less than the cost of an electric bin lorry. Which is great, but isn’t it a bit strange that a council will defleet its old diesel bin lorries because they’re tired and soon to be obsolete only to have to pay the cost of a new diesel bin lorry to get the old one back again but with an electric motor? The future is very weird, we’re still getting our heads round it. 

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Best electric car for collecting rubbish – Lunaz Econic
Range: At least to your house
Engine: n/a bhp electric motor
Battery: 275–400kWh
Top speed: 56mph
Boot space: 20,000 litres (approx.)

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