“Besides the fact that modern cars are already very clean, your average Toyota Camry driver only uses about 600 gallons a year, while a garbage truck will use 14,000,” says Wright, a soft-spoken New Zealander with a passion for sports cars.
“It makes the most economic sense to focus energies on a sector where you can displace the most fuel,” especially true now that gas has plummeted to under $50 a barrel, says Wright. “When you switch a garbage truck to electric power, you’re saving about $50,000 in fuel and $30,000 in maintenance a year.”
Companies gradually are buying Wright’s pitch. His electric powertrain start-up, Wrightspeed, last year contracted with FedEx to retrofit 25 of its medium- to heavy duty-trucks with battery-powered engines that can be recharged through regenerative braking or by small turbines fueled by natural gas or propane