Old recycling trucks get upcycled into EVs

STORY: These old recycling truck are getting a new lease of life.

British company Lunaz is taking the phrase ‘circular economy’ to heart

by taking disused diesel-powered trucks

and upcycling them into electric vehicles.

“We take a product that already exists and we upcycle it and electrify it for a clean air future.”

At this plant in Silverstone, Lunaz is developing its own electric motors and powertrains, and assembles its own battery packs.

It replaces the trucks’ engines with electric motors,

in a process the company calls "upcycling," rather than recycling.

“Take a look at this. This is one of our refuse trucks. This electric recycling truck has been upcycled to a clean air powertrain.”

David Lorenz is the company’s founder and CEO.

"You've got to look at upcycling product already exists. There's 2 billion vehicles on this planet. And we're now transitioning from ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) to EV. This is the obvious choice for so many vehicle classes.”

The diesel trucks are upcycled when they reach the end of their normal working lives.

That could be after a mere 100,000 miles, even though the chassis may have a warranty for 1 million miles.

That’s according to Alistair McNeil, Production Manager at Lunaz:

“After a hundred thousand miles, hundred and fifty thousand miles they get exported or scrapped and all we’re doing is passing the problem of diesel on to the third world."

In comparison to buying a brand new electric vehicle, Lunaz says an upcycled electric vehicle, or UEV, saves more than 80% of embedded carbon.

The company says its factory in Silverstone will employ 350 people and produce 1,100 UEVs per year.

“This factory here today that we’re in has an 1100 vehicle capacity. That is an Eiffel Tower’s worth of embedded carbon saved over a year.”

Lunaz says they are targeting fleet operators in both the private and public sectors,

like county councils, who are the largest operators of refuse trucks in the United Kingdom.

Other development projects are also currently underway, such as new chassis and vehicle models.