Econ launches electric gritter

Econ Engineering has launched an electric gritter truck with a range of demountable body options, which allow it to switch between fleet roles while ensuring zero-tailpipe emissions.

Econ is a Yorkshire-based company that designs and manufactures gritters and other vehicles that are used by local authorities and private contractors across the UK.

The truck comes with Econ’s new Electric Quick Change Body (E-QCB) system, which in addition to a gritter body, can be supplied with tipper bodywork for highways maintenance, or with a cage tipper for refuse collection and recycling. Developed in-house by Econ, the E-QCB uses hydraulic rams to enable the vehicle to switch between demountable bodies in 15 minutes, all controlled via a single operator.

The first in this new ‘Econ Zero’ range is an operational prototype built on a 19-tonne Volvo FE Electric 4x2 chassis. It was developed in collaboration with Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland ad supplying dealer Crossroads Truck & Bus.

Jonathan Lupton, managing director at Econ Engineering, says: “We have spent a long time developing the new E-QCB, undertaking comprehensive redesigns and trialling it, to ensure that we can offer a fully electric solution for our customers that can be used 52 weeks a year.

“The vehicle operates best in urban environments, where daily mileage is typically less than some longer distance motorway routes. As it is easy to switch body types with this model, customers can benefit from operating the vehicle all year-round. We are committed to continuing to evolve our Econ Zero range, and other renewable energy innovations, as the UK’s infrastructure develops in support of this.”

Christian Coolsaet, managing director at Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, said: “Every part of the transport sector needs to have its sights set on achieving net zero, and gritting and snowploughing is no exception. The team at Econ has developed an exceptional new product with our FE Electric chassis at its heart; this is going to allow gritter fleets to reap the benefits of operating cleaner, quieter and more efficient trucks.”

The new FE Electric is said to offer an improved working environment due to less vibrations and almost silent operation, allowing them to better focus on the road ahead.

The Volvo power train combines two electric motors with a two-speed gearbox. The power delivery is handled by a traction control system developed to handle slippery surfaces.

Specified with four batteries, the FE Electric chassis offers a range of up to 250km, and a recharging time of 2.3 hours with a 150 kW DC charger. The battery can also be charged more quickly up to 80% capacity in the same way as a smartphone because the charger slows down towards the end of the process to protect the battery cells.

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