Nikola Refuse is a 720kWh electric garbage truck, dumps in 2,500 orders

Overnight, Nikola Motors announced a new product and new contract. The Nikola Refuse is a new zero-emission garbage truck, built on their all-electric Tre platform.

The truck will have a massive 720kWh battery which will produce up to 1,000HP and feature up to 150 mile range (241km). There’s currently no word on a charging partnership or estimation on time to recharge at this stage.

The new Refuse now has a dedicated page on Nikola’s site, along with a long list of other still be produced vehicles including the Nikola Two, Tre, Badger, Wave and NZT.

The renders of the Refuse definitely show a modern design to a truck, with a massive windscreen and curves that help with aerodynamic efficiency. The rear of the Refuse shows a triple axle with the last axle able to be raised, presumably to save drag and tyre wear while not carrying a full load.

Along with the announcement of the Refuse, comes a press release about a big contract for Nikola. 2,500 orders from Republic Services are locked in with a further 2,500 on the table if Nikola are able to execute.

Republic Services are the second largest recycling and solid waste provider in the U.S. and is recognized as an industry leader in providing environmentally responsible, sustainable solutions to its customers.

The trucks are scheduled to be in full production by 2023, with testing likely in early 2022.

Garbage trucks are heavy, noisy and constantly start and stop, creating a significant amount of emissions, so electrify them makes lots of sense. It is important to point out this won’t be the first electric garbage truck, in fact there’s already some right here in Australia in operation in 2020.

Victorian-based SAE Electric, build electric garbage trucks for East Waste in Queensland and Cleanaway in WA. While electric trucks will certainly cost more than diesel trucks, EVs offer lower maintenance and charging costs, which will pay back over the life of the vehicle.

“Nikola specializes in heavy-duty, zero-emission Class 8 trucks. The refuse market is one of the most stable markets in the industry and provides long-term shareholder value.

The Nikola Tre powertrain is ideal for the refuse market as it shares and uses the same batteries, controls, inverters and e-axle. By sharing the Tre platform, we can drive the cost down for both programs by using the same parts.

You couldn’t pick a better partner than Republic Services, a leader in long-term environmental sustainability and customer service. Republic Services will help us ensure the Nikola Tre meets customer and fleet lifecycle demands and we are excited to have them participate in the design process.”

Nikola Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton.

Milton confirmed on Twitter, that the order includes not just the electric truck platform (chassis and powertrain) as shown in the photos, but they will be adding a compactor body, so completed trucks are part of the deal.

In terms of where they’ll be made, Nikola are building a factory in Arizona, Phoenix. The company broke ground on the site on July 23rd and has since faced questions around the lack of activity on the site.

Milton has responded that construction was due to start in a couple of weeks. It’s now August 10th (US time) and today we have a similar tweet, explaining the construction is still 2 weeks away.
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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021


  1. Are there any working electric garbage trucks in Australia? All these companies talk about them, say they’ll use them but are they actually being used or is it just a marketing stunt? What percentage of the waste for a council are they collecting? I’ve never seen them in action!

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