McNeilus Showcases its Volterra ZSL at WasteExpo

As the dust continues to settle following another successful WasteExpo, I am still working through my notes of everything I saw at the event. One showing stands out, as a garbage truck from McNeilus may have been the most impressive thing I saw throughout WasteExpo.

Gage Edwards, Content Producer

May 16, 2024

5 Min Read
Image provided by McNeilus

As the dust continues to settle following another successful WasteExpo, I am still working through my notes of everything I saw at the event. One showing stands out, as a garbage truck from McNeilus may have been the most impressive thing I saw throughout WasteExpo.

If you’ve ever been to WasteExpo, you’d know that a majority of the show floor’s real estate is occupied by different garbage trucks with all sorts of different offerings, perks, and abilities. New technology and innovation usually lead the way for trucks on the show floor but after seeing so many, they start to blend together. That’s not the case for the McNeilus Volterra ZSL because after I saw this truck in person, it blew me away.

“It’s a complete cohesive system from the ground up. It’s integrated structurally and mechanically, as well as electronically. It’s truly a smart truck and has the greatest offering from an active safety standpoint,” said Jeremy Bernard, Senior Director of Business Development, McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing.

The Volterra ZSL is North America’s first fully integrated electric refuse collection vehicle. This impressive truck makes every step of trash collection easier, more efficient, smarter, and cleaner as it strives to be the ultimate solution in the waste industry. Just as important as its waste collection abilities, the Volterra ZSL is designed with drivers in mind with ease of operation and comfort, making it the Cadillac of garbage trucks. As a rather uncoordinated, clumsy man, I navigated this truck with ease, and it was incredibly comfortable.

I always think “drivers come first” when it comes to waste collection and the Volterra ZSL provides an incredible experience to those who are operating them. The truck offers top-of-the-line comfort and safety, creating an optimal workspace that empowers drivers to do an efficient job while reducing risk. The truck’s cab provides almost 38% more space compared to average industry trucks and features a 15” step, which is 2” lower than industry standard, reducing the amount of stress on a driver’s knees getting into and out of the truck all day long. Drivers can see the road better via one of the truck’s industry-leading achievements with the highest 5-star rating for Direct Vision Standard.

“Individuals who drive the truck are in here day in and day out. All of those ergonomic and design features really make their job easier, safer, and of course, supports the whole operation,” said Katie Kauzlaric, Director of Marketing, Oshkosh Corporation.

Speaking of vision, the Volterra ZSL offers an advanced driver assistance system that is installed in the factory and comes standard on every Volterra ZSL. The camera system provides drivers with a 360-degree camera view, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic assist, and more. Those safety features are highlighted in the 12.3” digital gauge cluster that keeps the driver informed throughout their route. On the driver display, one can see the vehicle's battery regeneration, tire pressure, 360-degree camera angles, and more.

Everything that we all enjoy in our cars on a daily basis and things that keep us safe in congested environments, the Volterra ZSL gives to truck drivers. Of course, the truck isn’t only safe and comfortable for drivers, but it’s also built with technicians in mind.

“The truck is built for safety and for comfort of the operator but also for the technician. The nice thing about a fully integrated truck is, you know, in the past everything was underneath the cabs, but here [with the Volterra ZSL] all your systems are easily accessible. Systems aren’t spread out all across the truck, they are [easily accessible] because we made it fully integrated,” said Lee Dreas, Vice President and General Manager of McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing.

I spent a long time talking about the safety and driver features of the Volterra ZSL, and I could go on because “driver is king” in my mind. But that may be a different article for a different day. For now, we need to look at the sustainability features and advantages of the Volterra ZSL and the ways it helps customers achieve their sustainability goals.

I mentioned earlier that the Volterra ZSL is certified by the U.S. EPA, but it also receives the same zero-emission certification from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The truck features an electrified drivetrain, e-axle architecture, smart battery system, and cooperative regenerative braking. All these features come together to offer a zero-emission vehicle that can complete all-day routes on a single charge.

The clean-running trucks are a big boost to customers looking to make good on their sustainability goals, but the Volterra ZSL is also helping the customers’ pockets too. For instance, the ROI on running the Volterra ZSL is between 5 and 14 percent when compared to a diesel truck. Plus, the smart technology in the truck links to the grid, monitoring the price of electricity and only charging its batteries when it’s the cheapest. Thus, saving owners money just by choosing a smart, EV option. With the Volterra ZSL being such a smart and safe option for a garbage truck, it works efficiently to stay on the road longer, reducing downtime, and making for more wins on the business side of things.

So, the Volterra ZSL from McNeilus comes down to this trifecta of positivity: it's driver-first, built from productivity, and pushes sustainability. This combination makes it one of the most impressive trucks I saw at WasteExpo this year and likely one of the most impressive trucks I have ever seen. It is clearly a top-tier option for companies looking for an all-in-one performance vehicle for their fleet.

About the Author(s)

Gage Edwards

Content Producer, Waste360

Gage Edwards is a Content Producer at Waste360 and seasoned video editor.

Gage has spent the better part of 10 years creating content in various industries but mostly revolving around video games.

Gage loves video games, theme parks, and loathes littering.

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