Westminster Council unveil fleet of electric RCVs, powered by the waste they collect

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Westminster City Council and Veolia have announced the full-scale rollout of the UK’s largest electric refuse collection fleet. The vehicles are the next generation in electric Refuse Collection Vehicle (RCV) development and will deliver a cleaner and quieter service, powered directly by energy generated from the waste they collect. The authority has invested £20m in the 45 new zero emission trucks which will be introduced over the coming weeks.

Westminster will gradually replace its entire 80-strong truck fleet, in the biggest decarbonisation programme of its kind by a UK local authority. Many of these vehicles will be housed at the new fully electric depot at Landmann Way, near Bermondsey. 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% 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.

“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,” said Pascal Hauret, Managing Director Veolia UK Municipal. “Using the waste, we collect to power the electric fleet is an exciting innovation [creating]a 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.”

The trucks, built by Dennis Eagle Ltd in Warwick, will be the mainstay of a zero-emission refuse fleet which also includes 90 electric street cleaning vehicles ranging from e-bikes to e-sweepers. The Waste Fleet Electrification scheme was partially funded by the Mayor’s Energy Efficiency Fund (MEEF), set up by the GLA and managed by Amber Infrastructure. The MEEF is a collaboration between the GLA and several participating banks. It was set up to enable local authorities to access financing for green projects at reduced borrowing costs, helping accelerate carbon reduction across London. The Waste Fleet Electrification scheme met the eligibility criteria and was able to access a loan of £12m.

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Wesley Doyle is editor of Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Stadia. He has over two-decades experience in publishing during which time he has worked at some of the UK’s leading consumer magazine titles in the health and fitness and sport sectors. Wesley is also passionate about cycling and interested in alternative technologies, particularly in transportation, to achieve net zero.

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