All of the different places I've lived in have had one thing in common – an early morning wake up call when the refuse truck appears in the street. Any move to make such things a little quieter is very welcome indeed, and if it benefits the environment too, then that's another tick in the plus column. Dow Kokam and PVI have announced that a fleet of much less noisy electric refuse trucks is to be rolled out in 2011 by SITA Ile de France, offering similar power and performance levels as their fossil-fueled counterparts.

PVI says that the advanced lithium polymer battery system developed in cooperation with Dow Kokam has resulted in a 26-ton electric refuse truck which is the "first ever fully electric refuse truck offering the same performance levels as conventional utility vehicles." The liquid cooled, flat-cell battery technology offers 140 watt hours per kilogram of specific energy and is quoted as having a 10-year lifespan.

The powertrain elements and the mechanisms relating to the collection of refuse are all powered by five strings of seven interchangeable battery packs (equivalent to 250 kilowatt hours), which is said to eliminate 130 tons of CO2 per truck per year. The trucks should be able to collect at least a couple of 16 ton service runs before the charge needs some attention and the ability to be partially recharged between runs should further extend that range.

In addition to the promise of quieter operation, they are zero local emission trucks which benefit from no idling during periods of inactivity. They can get up to a maximum speed of 70 km/h (43 mph) at full payload with the added advantage of 100 per cent starting torque, and integrated gearbox kinematics will allow the truck to climb steep inclines with a full load without adversely affecting traffic flow.

The first truck will be rolled out by SITA Ile de France at Courbevoie, just outside of Paris in early 2011, with a fleet of 11 vehicles expected to be running by the end of the year.