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Lunaz upcycled electric vehicles cleared to operate in London

Lunaz’s upcycled refuse trucks have been cleared to enter service in London, having achieved the highest five-star Direct Vision Standard (DVS) rating for driver visibility.

The Direct Vision Standard, along with the HGV Safety Permit Scheme, is part of the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s transport network by 2041.

The DVS measures how much an HGV driver can see directly through their cab windows. This is expressed as a star rating from zero (limited) to five (good) direct vision, indicating the level of risk to vulnerable road users, such as people walking and cycling.

In a tightening of the standards, from 28th October this year, heavy goods vehicles over 12 tonnes will need to have a three- star rating or fit the Progressive Safe System to operate in Greater London.

Because of its five-star rating, the Lunaz upcycled electric vehicles (UEV) are cleared to enter service in London without any further documents or modifications being required.

The Lunaz  trucks are equipped with a suite of technologies to help drivers see around the vehicle from all angles.

The external camera monitoring system comprises two assemblies containing three cameras mounted on the top corners of the vehicle, which send images to screens on the dashboard display. The original wing mirrors are replaced with digitised versions that eliminate rear and blind spots around the UEV.

Unlike standard mirrors, these mirrors operate under all conditions, including rain, snow and total darkness, dramatically increasing visibility and safety. The driver can also see what’s directly in front of and below the vehicle via a dedicated downward-facing camera.

In addition to the cameras and mirrors, an object detection system instantly picks out cyclists, pedestrians and other potential hazards, alerting the driver via the dashboard display screen.

Lunaz are hoping that having received the green light for service in London, the wider adoption of their UEVs by local authorities as replacements for their end-of-life diesel refuse trucks will follow.

By reusing and recycling existing vehicles, the company aim minimise the overall lifetime environmental impact of operating commercial vehicle fleets. They claim their 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.

The refurbished trucks can deliver a 25% lifetime capital saving over its as-new equivalent, providing greater value for money for local authorities, business operators and taxpayers. Indeed, over a normal seven year life-cycle a Lunaz UEV matches a polluting diesel refuse truck for ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ (TCO) meaning Local Authorities and private operators can make the transition to zero emissions vehicles without pressurising existing budgets.

Lunaz has pioneered commercial vehicle upcycling and electrification, a sector predicted to grow tenfold over the next five years, driven by the global transition to net zero and clean-air mobility. Lunaz itself expects to employ 350 staff by the end of 2024 – up from just five when it was founded in 2018 – in pursuit of its stated long-term goal of producing 1,100 vehicles per year.

David Lorenz, Founder, 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 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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