Whilst it was always going to be, Whale Tankers’ eWhale – first fully-electric MVC (medium volume combination tanker) – proved a real showstopper at this year’s APSE, the Scotland Fleet, Waste and Grounds Seminar 2019 held at Hilton Coylumbridge.

As a delighted Chris Anderson, Whale Tankers’ Commercial Director states: “This was by far the best APSE ever for Whale Tankers, the focal point being the interest that the eWhale attracted. And whilst it proved to be one of the main talking points at the CV Show earlier this month, it certainly sent shock waves around APSE for four days.

“And it was fortuitous that with Transport for Scotland confirming at the show that it would create match funding for 20 vehicles of this kind, we had three Councils confirm they were going to put forward the eWhale as their preferred choice.

“So all in all, APSE proved to be the perfect platform from which to promote the eWhale’s main attributes, as virtually every transport and financial manager responsible for procurement from councils across Scotland, and other areas of the UK, were present,” concluded Chris.

Not surprisingly, this year’s APSE centred on all aspects of environmentalism, an issue currently high on the Scottish Government’s agenda. And with eWhale being a zero emission vehicle solution, it has been specifically designed to enable both local authorities and private sector contractors operate in inner city, ultra low emission zones (ULEZ). So with Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh already having pledged a commitment to support the Government’s continued promise to reduce exhaust gas emissions from diesel powered vehicles as a means of driving down air pollution, the 19-tonne GVW eWhale’s introduction could not be more timely.

However it’s not just the eWhale’s zero emission status that is of appeal, so too are the operational benefits it has been designed to deliver. Standing as another industry first for Whale Tankers, eWhale has the capacity to cover some 110km, clean in excess of 150 gullies and support four hours of jetting in a normal shift. This is achieved through the deployment of two banks of chassis mounted lithium battery packs that deliver power via a 9-phase process to a 250kW electric drive motor.

Low maintenance and low running costs are also key features of eWhale, as the battery packs are proven to withstand more than 3,000 charges over an expected 10-year period of normal operation.

The eWhale’s impact in terms of noise pollution is also minimised, as it is extremely quiet in operation, which makes it particularly suitable for inner city night-time environments compared to current diesel powered vehicles.

Further features of the new all-electric eWhale, which is capable of being mounted on a range of both low-entry and standard cab chassis, include an additional electric instrument control panel that details battery capacity, gear position, range prediction, regenerative power and system status information. Finally, the vehicle’s battery system is charged via a 63 Amp, 3 phase neutral and earth power supply, complete with RCD type A 30 mA protection, for which a 10m charging lead is supplied as standard.

Displayed at APSE with a twin compartment tank – one featuring a water capacity of 3,600 litres, the second 4,600 litres for debris/sludge – the eWhale also incorporates a new control/display system. The PLC unit has an increased range of programmable I/Os for different implementations and comes complete with an IP 67 rated leak-proof aluminium/plastic housing. Similarly, the display not only enables remote connectivity and has excellent sunlight readability, it has inbuilt wide viewing angles and high-end graphics which, complete with a 7” resistive touch screen.

Additional features of the eWhale include:

  • Onboard telematics delivered by a remote chassis diagnostics and battery management system.
  • Secondary 24 low voltage battery system used to power existing lighting and controls.
  • Inverter controlled PTO.
  • Power steering system.

The result of an 18-month research and development programme, the eWhale has a powerful gully cleaning and drain jetting capability that features an innovative electric drive system used to power it. At the forefront of the technology deployed in this area is a new coalescing de-oiler unit that reduces discharged oil from the onboard Mistral 402 series exhauster/compressor vacuum pump by 99%. Compatible with all current compliance regulations, the de-oiler extracts mist that occurs within the pipework and captures it so it can be disposed of in a controlled and acceptable manner.

The jetting power of the eWhale comes via an ORCA 250 high-pressure pump that delivers a 125l/min flow rate up to 125 bar. Operated via a rear control panel, the pump supplies both a primary and self-aligning, 100m hydraulically-operated hose reel, or secondary manual 30m reel.

Completing the eWhale equipment itinerary is a 5” full bore gully boom that provides 300-degree rotation. Fully counterbalanced for ease of operation and featuring an air assisted sludge breaker, the gully boom is equipped with Whale’s boom handle that is designed to meet the latest health and safety statutory instruments.