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UK’s largest electric waste collection fleet revealed

UK-based refuse truck manufacturer Dennis Eagle is supplying Veolia and Westminster City Council with the UK’s largest electric refuse collection fleet.

Westminster Council has invested £20 million in the 45 new electric trucks built by Dennis Eagle which will be phased in the weeks ahead.

After extensive trials in 2022, it ordered the company’s next generation eCollect 27-tonne 6×2 rear-steer electric Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCV).

Dennis Eagle first launched the eCoolect in 2020, and says there are now well over 100 in operation in the UK and Ireland.

Built in its Warwick plant, these 45 new electric trucks will be the mainstay of its zero-emission refuse fleet, which also
includes 90 electric street cleaning vehicles ranging from e-bikes to e-sweepers.

The eCollect is based on its most popular RCV configuration. An Elite Narrow 6×2 rear-steer chassis, with an electric drive system instead of diesel, its market-leading Olympus OL19 Narrow body and its Terberg ‘Omni’ range of automatic split lifts.

Most important of all, it claims that this is the only all-electric RCV produced by an OEM, the complete package built under one roof with no need to involve another manufacturer.

Its chassis, body and bin lift are each designed to work together and are fully compliant with Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA).

The specially designed depot can house over 50 vehicles and boasts a smart charging infrastructure. This fleet development will deliver a cleaner and quieter service, powered directly by energy generated from the waste they collect.

The smart charging infrastructure will ensure they are always ready to go when needed. This is a ground-breaking initiative that will benefit residents by reducing vehicle noise, cutting air pollution and drastically reducing the borough’s carbon emissions.

Westminster will gradually replace its entire 80-strong truck fleet, in the biggest decarbonisation programme of its kind by a UK local authority.

Uniquely, these new generation of vehicles are powered by the waste they collect. The electric vehicles will charge their batteries by drawing electric power from an adjacent energy recovery facility which uses the waste collected from homes and businesses in Westminster.

Westminster’s fleet, operated by its environmental partner Veolia, completes 50 million collections every year and each electric vehicle saves up to 89 per cent CO2e compared to a diesel-powered fleet.

Veolia worked to procure, design and operate the new depot and charging infrastructure which will be capable of charging 54 vehicles simultaneously.

Smart charging will allow the partnership to support the National Grid by receiving power at non-peak times to maximise local resources and strengthen the Grid’s resilience.

Pascal Hauret, managing director, Veolia UK Municipal said: “It’s fantastic to see our teams working together with Westminster City Council to deliver a cleaner, greener and quieter service for residents, businesses and visitors across the city.

“Using the waste we collect to power the electric fleet is an exciting innovation because that creates a local loop of energy, using local resources to run local services.

“I’m incredibly proud of the solutions Veolia and Westminster are pioneering together to build the sustainable municipal services we need, now and in the future.”

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, Cabinet Member for City Management and Air Quality, said: “By replacing diesel-powered refuse trucks with a £20m investment in UK-built electric vehicles, Westminster City Council is voting with its fleet.

“The trailblazing electrification will deliver an essential service that is quieter for residents, improves air quality in central London and reduces our fleet emissions by 50 per cent, or over 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

“This is a significant moment in the evolution of sustainable council services and we look forward to further expanding our zero-emission vehicle fleet in the future.”

The South East London Combined Heat and Power facility (SELCHP) will provide the site with 3,300MWh of electricity per year via a private wire to charge the e-fleet. This facility treats residual waste to create 265GWh of electricity, supplying enough electricity to the grid to power 48,000 homes, and generating heat for a local district heating scheme serving over 2,800 homes.

Over 50 per cent of the electricity generated by SELCHP qualifies as renewable under the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGO) scheme. Veolia has set a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2040.

Dennis Eagle is now also offering the 4×2 eCollect, which a smaller version of the original 6×2 but it has a 10m3 body capable of carrying 4.8 tonnes – the same as its diesel equivalent.

Like the 6×2, the vehicle has a narrow track chassis to provide ‘optimum manoeuvrability’.