Facing me is a digital screen, displaying a speedo, and readouts for battery range and efficiency, as well as the vital air pressure stats. (Air pressure controls everything from the brakes to the firmness of the driver’s seat.) Across the central dash are two 10.0in screens, one for infotainment and the other (not fully functional on this prototype) relaying views from the plethora of cameras around the lorry, which are so important for driver-to-crew visibility during collections.
And now for a revelation: the Lunaz bin lorry is a bit of a hoot to drive. Rotate the switch inside the right-hand column stalk to engage Drive in the two-speed ZF ’box, pull up a dash-mounted lever to release the airbrake and all 17 tonnes of Lunaz bin lorry glides down the road with barely a hum.
Given the sheer mass of the thing, riding on its 80-profile, 22.5in Continentals, there’s an unexpected precision to the steering, which is nicely weighted and quite high-geared – a real boon for those awkward manoeuvres down tight village lanes.
The ride is sublime, too, although I’d wager that, laden with 10 tonnes of garbage, there would be no room for heroics. Acceleration is hilariously brisk if you mash the throttle, but you feel it more at low speeds, which is, I guess, where it would benefit its users the most.
Unsurprisingly, Lunaz is talking to local authorities, all of which are under pressure to reduce carbon emissions in short order. By the end of this year, it is set to deliver 57 electric bin lorries, and a further 200-plus in 2024, some in partnership with waste management company Biffa.