Lunaz Applied Technologies (LAT) has finalised the demanding hill-climb component of an extensive testing programme of its Upcycled Electric Vehicles (UEVs) at globally renowned test and development facility, Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire, UK.
The development UEVs tested were refuse trucks on the Mercedes Econic platform. These vehicles have been subject to an upcycling process that includes the replacement of the vehicle’s diesel engine with a fully electric Lunaz powertrain as well as incorporating a suite of the latest safety, connectivity and ergonomic improvements.
Of particular note was the UEVs exceptional performance on the challenging 1:5 gradient of the proving ground. The vehicle, which was fully prepared for a refuse collection round with a ‘crusher’ body mounted and occupied by a driver and two crew, not only ascended the hill effortlessly but had 1000nm of torque in reserve – equivalent to the 253mph Bugatti Veyron.
This test was critical in establishing LAT’s global application. In achieving this milestone LAT UEVs are validated for nearly all residential roads globally, supporting considerable interest from foreign governments the world over who wish to benefit from LAT’s UEVs, each representing a cleaner, cheaper and better equipped alternative to their all-new equivalents.
The hillclimb test was conducted as part of LAT’s ongoing ten-year development programme, compressed into two years by testing five identical Mercedes Econic UEVs simultaneously. These vehicles are currently being subject to 300,000 miles of durability testing on Millbrook Proving Ground’s famously demanding ‘Belgian Pave’ cobbled road, more than 500 hours of driver calibration, where pedal feel, power delivery and braking endurance are finessed, and 800 hours of energy optimisation, balancing power consumption with performance. The UEVs 56mph top speed – a significant figure in that many vehicles in its class are only capable of 35mph – will also be tested continually for more than 200 hours.
This performance delivers an essential benefit to waste management companies, local authorities and the public as slow moving refuse trucks will no longer block busy commuter roads at peak times. This is augmented by the proprietary re-engineering of the transmission system to allow best-in-class hill-climbing ability without compromise to top speed.
To support the wellbeing of the critical workforce who operate these vehicles, significant resources are being applied to testing and improving noise, vibration and harshness conditions in these vehicles. Sister brand Lunaz Design has supplied an electrified 1961 Bentley Continental Flying Spur for acoustic benchmarking purposes, supporting LAT engineers’ target of a 40% reduction in cabin noise compared to a diesel Mercedes Econic.
A highly specialised and diverse test team has been assembled to carry out this landmark testing. Its development driver team is made up of refuse and heavy goods vehicle drivers, who share a collective 50 years of frontline operational experience, as well as hypercar, aerospace and nuclear submarine engineers – specialisms that reflect the highest engineering and safety standards in the world.