Allison Transmission Picked For UK’s First Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Electric-Powered Waste Collection Truck


While many of us might be blissfully unaware of Allison Transmission, it’s one of the world’s most famous and oldest manufacturers of transmissions and propulsion systems. Based out of the United States of America, the “Allison” name has been in the business since 1915 – yes, this company can trace its roots all the way back to the mid-1910s! As you can understand, a company this old comes with learnings of a lifetime – and indeed, Allison Transmission is quite the ace in its field.  Interesting fact… Allison is the world’s largest maker of medium-duty and heavy-duty transmission systems. At the same time, the company has now become synonymous with manufacturing of electrified propulsion systems.

Allison Transmission’s electrified propulsion systems are found in several trucks, buses, motorhomes (RVs), and even some defense vehicles. Even though the company is based out of Indianapolis in the US of A, its products can be found in over 150 countries all over the globe, with regional bases in the Netherlands, China and Brazil, and manufacturing units based in India, Hungary and, of course, the US. Recently, the company shot to fame when its Allison 3000 Series transmission found its way into a Refuse Collection Vehicle (RCV) or, in plain English, a waste collection truck in the United Kingdom.

This particular model of the Refuse Collection Vehicle is also the UK's first-ever hydrogen fuel-cell waste collection truck. According to the Aberdeen City Council, which chose this truck, the equipment that powers it features two 250kW so-called Hyzon electric motors that are then paired with a 45kW fuel cell and the aforementioned Allison 3000 Series transmission. The new waste collection truck in itself is based on the HH-Mercedes-Benz Econic Hydrogen model, which is a splitting image of the ICE-powered Mercedes-Benz Econic Rosenbauer fire truck used at some airports around the world. With its similar 4.2-meter wheelbase, the new Allison Transmission-equipped waste collection truck features a single hydrogen tank with a capacity of 15 kg (at 350 bar), along with a bunch of 140kWh batteries rated at 700 volts.

It was back in 2018 when the Aberdeen City Council first engaged the services of the UK’s first-ever hydrogen-powered sweeper vehicle under the innovative ‘H2 Aberdeen’ initiative. Of course, as you might imagine, this vehicle was equipped with an Allison transmission, driving home the point that this brand represents the cutting-edge when it comes to the adoption and delivery of the latest in the world of green commercial vehicles.

According to Nathan Wilson, Account & Area Sales Manager, United Kingdom & Republic of Ireland at Allison Transmission, “Aberdeen City Council currently operates 500 vehicles equipped with Allison transmissions and has been impressed by their drivability and durability for many years. Allison’s automatic transmissions are well-designed to support alternative-fuel and new-power vehicles. For these reasons, the Council specifically requested that its new hydrogen-powered RCV be equipped with an Allison transmission as well.”

Of course, to make this project happen and result in the end-product, the new hydrogen-fueled waste collection truck amalgamates the Mercedes-Benz Econic’s characteristic low-height entry into the main cab with the main body of the truck manufactured in the Netherlands. By the way, this was accomplished by waste collection solutions specialists from the Geesinknorba Group. The new truck has been made so that it can do constant stop-start operations, 7.5 hours per day, 5 days a week without breaking a sweat. Moreover, it comes with a special combi split-bin lift to enable it to do its chore sans any issue. Unlike the traditional mechanical clutch systems that are pervasive in the market, this new truck comes with Allison’s fully-automatic transmission, which has been proven to have the least wear and tear in day-to-day operations.

The patented torque-converter automatic gearbox also favors operators by reducing overall maintenance costs, while also improving drivability during stop-start and low-speed regimes. Furthermore, the Allison transmission fitted to this truck allows it a unique yet useful feature known as Power Take Off (PTO) – again, enabling better handling of a vehicle such as this. At the end of the day, how poetic is it that a waste collection truck leaves almost no waste behind, as far as exhaust fumes or pollutants of that nature are concerned. It remains to be seen how practical and long-lasting these trucks will turn out to be in the long run. Still kudos on your achievements and contributions to Allison Transmission.

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