‘Upcycled’ RCVs given license to operate in London

Electric vehicle manufacturer, Lunaz has been granted permission from Transport for London (TFL) for its ‘upcycled electric refuse trucks’  to operate across London.

A Lunaz UEV 'silently drives' past the Royal Albert Hall (Picture: Lunaz)

Lunaz has said the vehicles were granted a five-star Direct Vision Standard (DVS) rating for driver visibility.

The DVS has been developed by researchers, academics and representatives from the freight industry, Europe’s leading HGV manufacturers and regulatory bodies. Vehicles are rated from zero stars (poor) up to five stars (excellent).

According to the company the fact it has been awarded a five-star DVS is significant because it allows the UEVs to enter service in London without any further documents or modifications being required.

Safety systems

Lunaz recently opened a depot in Silverstone where it can convert diesel RCVs into electric, with all of the modern features associated with this, too. It has a capacity to upcycle 1,110 vehicle per year, with a “significant proportion” of this to Biffa (see letsrecycle.com story).

In order to achieve the five star rating, the company equipped each truck with an external camera monitoring system containing two assemblies of three cameras to help drivers see around the vehicle from all angles.

It is also outfitted with mirrors that the company say can operate in all conditions, including rain, snow and total darkness.

The driver can also see what’s directly in front of and below the vehicle via a downward-facing camera.


The green light for service in London is another major step towards the wider adoption of Lunaz UEVs by local authorities as replacements for their end-of-life diesel refuse trucks, the company said.

By reusing and recycling existing vehicles, Lunaz seeks to “break the destructive replace-with-new cycle, preventing unnecessary landfill and minimising the overall lifetime environmental impact of operating commercial vehicle fleets”.

The company added that a Lunaz UEV is “cleaner and better equipped than an all-new electric equivalent, while the restoration and conversion process captures more than 80% of its embedded carbon”.

David Lorenz, founder of Lunaz said: “From the outset, we’ve built our upcycled electric refuse trucks to meet the DVS five-star standard for driver visibility – the highest available. This accreditation enables operators to obtain an HGV permit from London boroughs without any further documentary evidence or vehicle modifications.

“It’s also in line with [London] Mayor Sadiq Khan’s pledge to eliminate road deaths in London by 2041. Having our UEVs fully prepared for operation in the capital is an import step towards widespread adoption.

“They’re cheaper and better-equipped than their all-new electric equivalents, representing greater value for money for local taxpayers, alongside the environmental benefits of our clean-air technology and upcycling process. It also means we’re heading into 2024 in a strong position to continue our journey towards a projected production capacity of 1,100 vehicles a year.”


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