(ffm) Frankfurter Entsorgungs- und Service GmbH is the first company in the German waste management sector to test the fully electric refuse collection vehicle "Futuricum". The developers from Designwerk Products in Winterthur, Switzerland, presented the vehicle on Monday, February 4, to Frankfurt's Head of the Environment Rosemarie Heilig, the Managing Director of Remondis Südwest, Siegfried Rehberger, and FES Managing Directors Benjamin Scheffler and Dirk Remmert.
City Councillor Heilig, who is also Chairwoman of the FES Supervisory Board, found out directly from the manufacturer on the very first day of testing: "We are talking about how we can make the air in our cities cleaner. We are discussing how we will deal with the impending driving ban in Frankfurt. That's why it's important for us as a city and as FES to be at the forefront of forward-looking low-emission technology in vehicles. In addition to local public transport, waste disposal will certainly play a key role here. I am very curious about the results of the test."
Siegfried Rehberger, Managing Director of Remondis Südwest, who as a representative of the shareholder is also a member of the FES Supervisory Board and brokered the contact with the Swiss, said: "I am also very curious about the results. As Germany's largest waste management company, we want to play a pioneering role for our industry on the way to the post-fossil age. Our largest public-private partnership, FES, has always been the first to benefit from technical innovations in the past. In this respect, it is only logical that this vehicle should also be the first to be tested in Frankfurt."
"Our ‚Futuricum' with its four electric motors with a total of 680 hp is a promise of much quieter and virtually pollution-free disposal," explained Tobias Wülser, Designwerk managing director and also inventor of the vehicle. He said he was confident about the test under the conditions of a typical FES disposal tour. "We have developed a vehicle here that will also master the challenges of the narrow and densely built-up metropolis."
The focus in the test is on the stop-and-go typical of Frankfurt waste disposal. A residual waste collection tour at FES involves 800 to 900 waste bins per day, which have to be loaded within 8.5 hours. The vehicle will mainly operate in Frankfurt's northwest and thus in the vicinity of the depot in the Heddernheim district. Longer journeys to the collection area, which put a strain on the battery, will no longer be necessary. Recharging the batteries at lunchtime is not planned. The vehicle will only be connected to a fast charging station in the evening.
Next to the Swiss manufacturer, there are currently only two other providers of refuse collection vehicles with purely electric drives. There are four vehicles from "Futuricum" so far, all of which are used in Switzerland. There they have already successfully completed several tens of thousands of kilometres in waste disposal operations. The fleet manager of the Thun public utility company, Toni Zimmermann, reported on the positive experiences in his city.
The vehicle is based on a chassis from the Swedish company Volvo. It rests on three axles like a conventional refuse truck. Its payload, depending on battery size, is a maximum of eleven tonnes - the same as the diesel vehicle. The electric motors are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Their capacity is between 170 and 340 kilowatt hours (kWh), depending on requirements. The voltage is 400 volts. The energy released during braking is recovered and fed back into the storage units.
Whether "Futuricum" will be able to drive in larger numbers in Frankfurt in the future will be decided not only by the test results. The purchase price is still about twice as high as for the conventional diesel-powered refuse collection vehicle. According to a calculation by the manufacturer, the costs will only be amortized after eight years. This includes the tax benefits for electric trucks in Switzerland, which do not yet exist in Germany. However, the price could still drop. Designwerk moved into a new production area in 2019 in order to produce in series.
FES managing director Remmert reported that the majority municipal Frankfurt waste disposal and service has already relied on electric mobility since 2009. "Our company has been waiting for more than half a year for the approval of two funding applications to convert a refuse vehicle and a refuse bin exchanger to electric drive. In addition, we are always testing vehicles with alternative drive systems."
The largest project at present is the natural gas-electric powered prototype of a refuse collection vehicle ("Silent Green"), which - combined with extensive measurements by the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (FRA UAS) - is also currently being tested. The FES fleet also includes five pedelecs, five Segways, 14 e-cars and two electric utility vehicles.