Powys CC takes its first electric RCV

In the week that a Freight in the City webinar discussed the electrification of refuse collection vehicles, in particular discussing their viability in rural operations, Powys CC, which with a population of just 130,000 spread over 1,600 square miles has one of the most sparsely populated territories in the UK, was launching its first eRCV. The Powys vehicle is a Dennis Eagle eConnect, based on the RS Elite narrow 6×2 rear-steer chassis with Olympus 19m3 body. Among the operational trial results shown by Dennis Eagle during the webinar was a recent set from a rural operation in Cheshire, which covered 94.6 miles in 10hrs 23min of driving.

In this time, it lifted 727 bins containing 13,080kg of waste, and returned to base with 15% charge remaining. Other figures provided show that while the capital cost of an eRCV could be up to double that of a diesel vehicle, reduced fuel and maintenance costs mean the whole-lift cost over a typical seven-year front-line life will be significantly reduced. Powys has one of the highest rates of recycling and landfill avoidance in the UK.

The new Dennis Eagle, only the third eRCV in Wales, will initially be based at Brecon, with plans to include the Rhayader and Abermule depots in the future. Nigel Brinn, Powys County Council’s corporate director for economy and environment said “The introduction of the eCollect into our fleet of waste and recycling vehicles is another milestone in the council’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions. This vehicle will reduce carbon emissions by approximately 25-35 tonnes per year compared to a standard, non-electric vehicle and will help us reach the authority’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.

“Following the introduction of electric vehicle charge points in many of the council’s car parks across the county last year, this is the start of our evolution towards an ultra-low emissions vehicle (ULEV) fleet that complements our innovative fleet of e-bikes used by our care workers. “We already have an impressive recycling rate across the county, with some of our residual waste already going to an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility. With the help of our residents and communities we will be striving to increase our efforts further to meet the next Wales-wide recycling target, set by Welsh Government, in 2024-25, when we need to recycle, reuse or compost 70% of our waste.

The fact that we can use a zero-emission vehicle to help us with this goal makes it all the more worthwhile.”