Lunaz’ upcycled refuse truck validated ‘best-in-class’ for climbing ability


Lunaz Applied Technologies (LAT) has completed the demanding hill-climb component of an extensive testing programme for its Upcycled Electric Vehicles (UEVs) at the globally- renowned test and development facility, Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

LAT hill climb test The development UEVs tested are refuse trucks on the Mercedes-Benz Econic platform. These vehicles have been subject to an upcycling process that includes the replacement of the vehicle’s diesel engine with a fully electric Lunaz powertrain and the incorporation of a suite of the latest safety, connectivity and ergonomic improvements.

Notably, the UEVs performed exceptionally on the challenging 1:5 gradient portion of the proving ground. The vehicle – which was fully prepared for refuse collection with a ‘crusher’ body attached and occupied by both a driver and two crew members – not only ascended the hill effortlessly but had 1000nm of torque in reserve which is equivalent to the 253mph Bugatti Veyron.

This test was critical in establishing LAT’s global application. In achieving this milestone LAT UEVs are validated for nearly all residential roads globally, confirming the considerable interest from foreign governments across the world who wish to benefit from LAT’s UEVs. These vehicles represent a cleaner, cheaper and better-equipped alternative to their all-new equivalents.

These vehicles are currently being subjected to 300,000 miles of durability testing on Millbrook’s famously demanding ‘Belgian Pave’ cobbled road, more than 500 hours of driver calibration – where pedal feel, power delivery and braking endurance are finessed – and 800 hours of energy optimisation which balances power consumption with performance. The UEVs 56mph top speed – a significant figure as many vehicles in its class are only capable of 35mph – will also be tested continually for more than 200 hours.

This performance delivers an essential benefit to waste management companies, local authorities and the public as slow-moving refuse trucks will no longer block busy commuter roads at peak times. This is augmented by the proprietary re-engineering of the transmission system to allow best in-class hill-climbing ability without compromising top speed.

To support the wellbeing of the critical workforce who operate these vehicles, significant resources are being applied to testing and improving noise, vibration and other harsh conditions in these vehicles. Sister brand Lunaz Design has supplied an electrified 1961 Bentley Continental Flying Spur for acoustic benchmarking purposes, supporting LAT engineers’ target of a 40 per cent reduction in cabin noise compared to that in a diesel Mercedes-Benz Econic truck. .

A highly specialised and diverse test team is carrying out this landmark testing. Its development driver team is made up of refuse and heavy goods vehicle drivers, who share a collective 50 years of frontline operational experience. They are joined by hypercar, aerospace and nuclear submarine engineers – specialisms that reflect the highest engineering and safety standards in the world.

LAT’s exhaustive testing programme will conclude ahead of its first fleet deliveries in 2023.

David Lorenz, CEO of LATLunaz, said: “I believe that every vehicle deserves at least two lives, and I am extremely proud of the engineers who are in the process of not just delivering but validating this vision.

“Our Upcycled Electric Vehicles represent so much more than technological innovation – they deliver a major improvement for the wellbeing of the drivers and crew who operate these vehicles and provide a critical reduction in the environmental impact all-new refuse trucks make.

“A UEV achieves this not only by way of its clean-air powertrain but in unlocking the embedded carbon trapped in scrapped trucks.”