This investment is the most significant purchase of electric refuse collection vehicles ever in the UK. Manchester City Council will replace almost half of its refuse collection vehicles with Electra electric vehicles (EVs).
The move is a big step towards delivering the Council’s zero-carbon action plan which aims to halve its direct carbon emissions by 2025. This is part of a broader drive to make Manchester zero carbon by 2038 at the latest in response to the climate change emergency.
The switch to electric eRCVs will save around 900 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, cutting about four percent of Manchester’s current direct annual emissions. The new electric HGVs will replace diesel trucks which have reached the end of their natural life.
The Electra RCVs will cost the Council £9.8 million but the fleet costs only a fraction more than a like-for-like replacement with diesel vehicles. However, Manchester City Council will be able to deliver clear environmental gains by investing in this new electric fleet over their 10-year expected lifespan. Energy savings and the availability of grants will offset the price difference.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods for Manchester City Council, said: “We are proud, together with Biffa, that our waste collection service is at the forefront of the forward-thinking response to the climate change challenge and we hope it will inspire others to follow suit.
“The only difference to the new service that residents should notice is that the new vehicles are quieter and cleaner.”
Sid Sadique, Chair of Electra Commercial Vehicles, said: “This has been an 18-month project in partnership with Manchester City Council and Biffa, with an Electra refuse collection vehicle being on trial in the city for eighteen months.
“The trial proved that a fully electric vehicle does the same job as its diesel equivalent with no compromise on payload or operation with the benefit of zero tailpipe emissions.”
Councillor Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment for Manchester City Council, said: “This significant investment in new electric refuse collection vehicles is an excellent example of the Council’s commitment to playing its full part in tackling climate change and will also contribute to better air quality.
“We have seen during the coronavirus lockdown how less pollution and better air quality benefits everyone. Climate change is an urgent challenge which we are getting on with addressing.”
Roger Edwards, Managing Director, Municipal Division at Biffa, said: “Embracing this technology forms a key part of our group-wide sustainability strategy and target to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
“We look forward to this project with Manchester and are confident it will be the first of many of its kind across the country as the UK sees the multiple benefits that electric refuse vehicles can bring.”
Manchester City Council and Biffa were supported and advised on the purchase by the Energy Saving Trust. Government Plug-in grants, designed to encourage a switch to electric vehicles, ensure a reduced fleet cost for the Council.