New plans for electric refuse collection vehicles

Four new electric refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) will be added to the council’s fleet, part of plans to end the use of all petrol and diesel vehicles across the council by 2030.

It is estimated that the carbon saving from using these electric-powered vehicles instead of diesel will reduce the council’s carbon emissions by 10.5 tonnes a year.

The council plans to exchange all its diesel refuse collection vehicles to electric or hydrogen powered as technology becomes available. It also plans to purchase new electric fleet for the recently insourced toilet cleansing service. 

Councillors gave the go-ahead for the new purchases at the Policy & Resources Committee on 12 May. 

This move is part of our plan to become a carbon neutral city by 2030. The Fleet Strategy 2020-30 outlines our approach to converting our fleet from diesel and petrol vehicles for low emission alternatives. 

The council already owns 25 electric vehicles, 2 of which are standard electric RCVs used for kerbside refuse collection. The 4 new vehicles are electric powered side-loading RCVs to replace diesel vehicles used by Cityclean to empty 3,200 litre communal refuse bins. 

Reduced emissions 

The cost of the new RCVs – £580,000 per unit – can be met from existing budgets and each vehicle will be eligible for a government emission grant of up to £25,000. The new models will also offer significantly cheaper maintenance and fuel costs than the current diesel RCVs used by Cityclean. 

We estimate that introducing the four electric side lifting RCVs will reduce our carbon emissions by 10.5 tonnes per annum. The side lifting RCVs are mainly used in the city centre for up to 11 hours a day, so switching to electric vehicles will reduce emissions and improve air quality in Brighton & Hove’s low emission zone.

Environmental and financial benefits

Councillor Steve Davis, joint chair of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “This is an important step in our plans to convert our existing fleet of vehicles to more sustainable alternatives and reduce the carbon footprint of the council. 

“Demand for RCVs is incredibly high at present, particularly for electric RCVs, so I am grateful that we’ve been able to secure production slots for these specialist vehicles.

“We are committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and the city will benefit from this investment in the long-term both environmentally and financially thanks to reduced emissions and operating costs.” 

Watch the Policy & Resources Committee  and read the report (Fleet Procurement is agenda number 136). 

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