But after exhaustive tests and the most thorough verification process, we can announce our all-electric refuse collection vehicle is all set to go into production – two years after the prototype vehicle was unveiled at the IFAT show in Germany.
Dennis Eagle Managing Director Kevin Else said: “The timing of the launch has been determined by two processes. First we had to ensure the infrastructure needed for running electric trucks was sufficiently developed to make it practical for operators.
“Secondly, we needed to be certain that the technology used in the vehicle was tried, tested and 100% proven. And it is.”
The first production vehicle combines the highly manoeuvrable 6x2 rear-steer Elite Narrow chassis with the 19m3 Olympus Narrow body to optimise the balance between its ability to work in restricted spaces and the payload it can carry. Fitted with a Terberg automatic split bin lift, the vehicle will be reassuringly familiar to drivers, crews and engineers.
But while most components of the vehicle have been proven in action on our conventional RCVs for several years, our determination to ensure the eCollect was 100% ready for frontline operations has led us to put every one of them through comprehensive validation tests once again as part of the new vehicle.
This barrage of checks include climate chamber tests in temperatures ranging from -10 OC to +41OC and accelerated durability trials to emulate 10 years’ worth of wear and tear in just a few months. The performances of parts have been assessed on a range of road surfaces with different gradients and variable terrains at specialist proving grounds where all new Dennis Eagle products are put through their paces.
The new components – the electric drivetrain and battery pack system – have been fine-tuned and put through a myriad of additional tests, with two clear goals in mind: to ensure both the total functional safety and operational efficiency of these electrical systems.
And thousands of hours work have been put into Functional Safety Checking to ensure it is as safe to drive and operate as possible.
Full-sized electric RCV
The eCollect will be the first full-sized electric RCV designed and built by an OEM and in addition to the reassurance customers will take from the exhaustive test regime, there are numerous other benefits in dealing with an OEM.
First and foremost, the eCollect is a fully integrated eRCV thanks to Dennis Eagle’s unique position as a manufacturer of chassis, body and bin lifts. These three components have all been designed to work together with maximum efficiency – including power usage – and the whole vehicle comes with single-stage type approval.
eCollect customers will also have a single-source supplier with one point of contact for all enquiries, shorter lead-in times and significantly more reliable delivery schedules.
And our attention to detail means customer benefits won’t end there.
Staff fully trained
With the vehicle being entirely built by our own engineers in our UK production facilities, we have been able to implement the most thorough staff training courses with an emphasis on both engineering and health and safety.
Our production and quality assurance teams are already familiar with their processes so we can ensure the highest quality engineering. Engineers are being thoroughly trained in the vital safety aspects of working with high voltage electric vehicles and best working practices with absolute guidelines have been set in place. Training courses and safety equipment will be available to customers too.
In addition, all Dennis Eagle staff – regardless of their roles – are being given essential health and safety training relating to electric vehicles.
A vital part of getting the eCollect ready has been preparing the repair and maintenance teams in service centres around the country. They have been fully trained to safely and expertly work on the new vehicle, along with our field service engineers. And comprehensive DE-Assured repair and maintenance packages have been prepared.
Customers will also benefit from the full support of the market-leading DE-Connect telematics system which has been updated to fully monitor and report on the electric-drive and battery pack components in addition to the rest of the truck. It will be factory-fitted to all eCollect vehicles.
And all parts of the electric drive and power systems will be stocked, listed and fully documented on our Electronic Parts Catalogue (EPC) to minimise vehicle downtime before the vehicle goes into production.
“The supply chain has also been prepared and each supplier has developed plans to provide for our production requirements,” said Kevin Else.
“We’ve dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts. The eCollect – the first full-sized electric RCV from an OEM – will hit the ground running with 100% efficiency.”