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Hybrid refuse trucks with Allison Automatics: As jolt-free as a fully electric truck; as economical and reliable as a diesel

refuse collection fleet of the Swiss city of Thun

Starting in mid-August 2020, three new hybrid refuse vehicles are joining the refuse collection fleet of the Swiss city of Thun. The vehicles are powered by Euro 6d diesel engines with Allison fully automatic transmissions, but the refuse collection body is working fully electric. Heated handholds for the loading crew at the rear, in addition to a drawer to dry wet gloves, show what else the city is able to provide its employees to increase comfort and efficiency. 

Sliedrecht, The Netherlands, August 2020 – The Civil Engineering Department of the city of Thun considers itself a pioneer in the field of innovative, environmentally friendly vehicles, and strives to stay one-step ahead in terms of technology. One example is the fully electric Futuricum refuse vehicle on a Volvo chassis, which has been operating successfully in Thun since 2018. The still high procurement cost and the relatively short experience with this vehicle have prompted the city to take an intermediate step. It was decided to add three new hybrid refuse vehicles to the city's waste collection fleet as of August 2020. The vehicles are powered by a truck diesel engine with an Allison fully automatic transmission, while the operation of the onboard waste collection system is fully electric. 

The new three-axle MAN TGS chassis 26.430 6x2-4 with steered trailing axle and refuse compaction system Medium XLS by Stummer, are powered by the brand new Euro 6d engine with 12.4 liter displacement and 316 kW, coupled with Allison’s 4000 SeriesTM transmission with a retarder. According to Toni Zimmermann, Head of Procurement and Safety for the City of Thun, this vehicle configuration of Euro 6d engine, together with Allison fully automatic transmission and electric refuse body, is currently really unique. 

The city of Thun was looking for vehicles that combine the smooth and jolt-free starting performance of fully electric trucks with the reliability and economy of diesel vehicles. 

“We previously had vehicles with automated manual transmissions (AMT), but this did not quite meet our expectations. The jolting during stop-and-go operation is an enormous strain for our drivers, but especially for the loading crew at the rear of the vehicle. We wanted to use fully automatic transmissions to come as close as possible to achieving the same smooth running of transmissions as in electric vehicles,” said Zimmermann. “There is no jolting of gears in electric vehicles and this is a huge advantage for our employees working on the vehicles, as well as for the driver.” 

The 26-ton rear loaders, operated by three people - one driver and two loading crew - collect garbage from around 21,000 households in Thun. Alternating between collecting household garbage, bulky goods, paper/cardboard and green waste, they cover some 15,000 kilometers (around 9,320 miles) a year and operate around 1,500 hours.  

The Allison 4000 Series, with its patented torque converter and continuous power shifting, provides the perfect features required for the city's challenging topography and its 600 meter altitude difference. The torque converter smoothly multiplies engine torque delivering more power to the wheels to improve vehicle start-up and enable more responsive acceleration. Furthermore, it protects the entire powertrain from vibrations and jolts during gear shifting. The precise crawling speed and precision tuning facilitate the collection of garbage bins in narrow alleyways, as well as working at extremely low speeds. Allison fully automatic transmissions provide seamless, uninterrupted power for increased average speed, higher productivity and driving comfort – even on steep inclines such as in the city of Thun. 

“The smooth, jolt-free vehicle startability of the Allison transmission torque converter is highly beneficial to the employees on the running boards - the so-called loaders. Moreover, the drivers are fully satisfied with Allison’s fully automatic transmission due to the excellent driving comfort,” said Zimmermann. 

To ensure that the lithium iron phosphate batteries operating the compaction system are fully charged every morning, the MAN TGS are hooked up to the charging station at night and the refuse collection body is recharged. The additional weight of the battery packs and accessories is approximately 1,020 kilograms (around 2248 lbs). The charging capacity is 54 kWh and the effective working life of the battery is around 2,000 charging cycles. 

In the event of an emergency, the vehicles have a second pump so that the body functions can be operated via the power take-off of the Allison transmission. 

Alongside the most advanced safety features, the vehicles also offer a number of Swiss in-house developments that are very practical in wintery conditions on ice and snow: 

  • A heating system was installed to heat the handles for the loading crew at the rear of the refuse vehicle. 
  • A drawer above the exhaust has been designed as a dryer for wet gloves. This is heated by the warmth of the exhaust. 

Furthermore, the new refuse collection vehicles of the city of Thun are equipped with a suction device at the rear of the vehicle. This “Clean-Option” feature offered by Stummer Kommunalfahrzeuge, the bodybuilder, protects loading personnel and residents from exposure to bioaerosols (dust, mold, viruses, bacteria) which can occur in varying concentrations in all types of waste, thus reducing the risk of eye irritation and respiratory diseases. 

“Today's modern vehicles must also be good workplaces for employees. I believe we have made an excellent choice with the new vehicles,” said Zimmermann. 2 

Technical Specifications: MAN TGS 26.430, 6x2-4 LL with Allison 4000 SeriesTM fully automatic transmission and Stummer E-Power Rear Loader Body Medium XLS

End User 

City of Thun, Switzerland 

Chassis (Manufacturer) 

MAN TGS 26.430 6x2-4 LL 

Engine Model 

MAN D26, 12,4 l Displacement 

Engine Power 

316 kW 

Torque 

max. torque 2200 NM starting at 930 rpm 

Exhaust emission standard 

Euro 6 d 

Transmission 

Allison Transmission 4000 Series™ 

Wheelbase 

3.500 mm 

Total Weight 

26 ton 

Bodyworks (Manufacturer and model) 

Stummer rear loader. Fully electric refuse compaction system, Medium XLS, E-Power, total capacity 17.6 cubic meter 

20 Aug, 2020

About Allison Transmission

Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and is a leader in electric hybrid-propulsion systems for city buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including refuse, construction, fire, distribution, bus, motorhomes, defense and energy. Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and employs approximately 2,700 people worldwide. With a market presence in more than 80 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Hungary and India. Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit allisontransmission.com.