© Christian Fürthner

The City of Vienna is blazing a trail for the future of e-mobility. In a pioneering project, its Waste Management Department (MA 48) has initiated the construction of Austria’s first ever fully electro-powered waste collection vehicle in cooperation with general contractor MAN and subcontractors MUT and Framo. The innovative truck was officially presented to the public at the R 20 Climate Conference in Vienna this May by the local City Councillor for the Environment, Ulli Sima, and conference founder Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It is designed to use 100 percent battery power both for its drive engine and for the waste collection and compacting unit. As a result, the vehicle produces zero emissions and significantly reduces noise levels during routine operation.

100 % e-power cannot be bought off the shelf 

This is the first ever vehicle of this kind ever built in Austria. So far, fully electro-powered engines have only been on the market for regular cars or pickups, and waste collection vehicles with hybrid technology have so far used combustion engines for propulsion while drawing on battery power to operate the waste collection and compacting unit. As soon as the battery is low or electricity is not available, the hybrid vehicles need to rely on their diesel engine as an energy source for collection and compacting.

MA 48, the City of Vienna’s Municipal Department for Waste Management, Street Cleaning and Vehicle Fleet, has tried deploying different types of hybrid vehicles in the past, but their performance turned out to be unsatisfactory in practice because their electric capacity was insufficient for a full day of operation. In the end, the overall environmental benefit was minimal due to the additional diesel combustion required to top up the power supply for waste collection and compacting.

In an unprecedented project, MA48 therefore commissioned three leading companies to build a fully electric-powered waste collection vehicle. It took Framo only five months to convert a conventional truck cab mounted on a MAN garbage truck chassis to electric operation. MUT added the waste collection and compacting unit. The result is a waste collection vehicle that requires no fossil fuels – neither for its drive engine nor for its functional unit (i.e. emptying containers and compacting the waste inside).

Full operation for the global climate 

The new electric garbage truck is now being deployed in different parts of the Vienna and for different garbage fractions (household waste, waste paper, etc.). For a start, it was scheduled to collect household waste inside the Vienna Gürtel, an area that includes some of the city’s most densely populated residential districts. This is the only way to find out whether the three-axle vehicle is fit for universal use and meets expectations in practice. Its Li-ion battery has a rated capacity of 230 kWh, providing a charge life that should be sufficient for a standard daily waste collection tour. By comparison, an average electric car has about 20-40 kWh. The new garbage truck is designed to have a range of at least 100 km in full operation on a single charge. Its battery can be charged with a 400 V industrial power socket thanks to an integrated charging system that allows for on-board AC to DC conversion. This increases the truck’s flexibility quite considerably, given that 400 V industrial sockets are provided in every MA 48 garage. There is no need for a separate charging unit.

Cooperation with experts from the Vienna University of Technology 

As the new electric-powered garbage truck is being tested in full operation for twelve months, the trial is monitored by a scientific expert team from the Vienna University of Technology. The experts check the vehicle’s and its battery’s performance in different outside temperatures, on different routes and with different waste fractions. For example, they examine the impact of different weather conditions and seasons on the charge life, the relative performance of the waste collection and compacting unit (number of waste containers emptied), the range in kilometres, and so on. The trial phase will provide valuable experience and data on how and where the truck can be used most effectively in practice. If the results are positive – which seems most likely at present – the City of Vienna will use them as a basis for the future strategic planning of its vehicle fleet.

EU Clean Vehicles Directive

The City of Vienna is thus implementing the EU Clean Vehicles Directive that requires the procurement of low-emission or zero-emission utility vehicles for public service. The directive stipulates minimum standards for light utility vehicles, trucks and buses based on eco-friendly technology. These standards must be complied with in public procurement and contracting procedures by 2025 or 2030 at the latest. According to the Directive, clean vehicles may use technologies based on electric power, hydrogen or natural gas, biological, synthetic, paraffinic fuels, and various other energy sources.

Alternative energy sources used by MA 48 

When it comes to electric vehicles, such as the new fully electric-powered waste collection vehicle used by MA 48, the actual ecological benefit of every solution depends on the source of electricity used. MA 48 has increasingly relied on alternative energy sources for years. Examples include electric power production from waste incineration, from high-methane landfill gas generated by decomposing organic material at the Rautenweg landfill, or by installing solar photovoltaic systems on city-owned land, such as the Rautenweg landfill site. Wherever this seems functional, photovoltaic systems have become an integral part of every new construction or conversion project planned. More large-scale photovoltaic plants are to follow in cooperation with the experts from the city’s energy supplier Wien Energie. A part of the electric power thus generated is used for internal purposes, the rest is fed into the local power grid. The amount of energy produced from waste management in Vienna is higher than the total electricity demand of MA 48, e.g. for necessary waste treatment processes.

The electric waste collection vehicle – technical details: 

Vehicle specifications:

  • Power output: 400 kW
  • Permissible max. weight: 27 t (metric tons)
  • Max. loading capacity: 11 t (metric tons)
  • Waste collection capacity: 18 m³
  • Number of axles: 3
  • Dimensions: 9.10 * 2.55 * 3.45 m


  • System: 2 x Li-ion batteries
  • Rated capacity: 230 kWh
  • Rated voltage: 600 V
  • Range in full operation (transport, waste collection, compacting): 100 km
  • Charging time: 12 h (on-board charging system, CEE 32A/400V); 2 h (fast charging system)
  • Weight: 2,300 kg (2*1.150 kg)
  • Positioning: lateral (left & right), between axles 1 and 2
  • Driving temperature range: -40 ° C to + 50 °C
  • Charging temperature: 0 °C to + 40 °C

Safety systems:

Electronic stability programme (ESP), electronic braking system (EBS), anti-lock braking system (ABS), emergency brake assist (EBA2), emergency stop signal (ESS), Lane Guard System (LGS), anti-slip regulation (ASR). Of course the vehicle also comes with a 7-mirror safety system and, for testing purposes, a promising new proximity alert system (i.e. electronic turning assistant: video camera with image recognition software).


MA 48 – communications and public relations

E-Mail: oa@ma48.wien.gv.at

Website: www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/ma48/fuhrpark/elektro-muellsammelfahrzeug.html

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