Sunderland’s Executive Director of Neighbourhoods Fiona Brown said residents will be able to see how front-line services are becoming carbon neutral as the vehicle is put to work all over the city, collecting 20 tonnes of waste a day and clocking up 10,000 miles a year.
Partners in the public and private sectors signed up to a Sunderland Low Carbon Framework in December 2020 to drive down emissions and make the city carbon neutral by 2040. The council's own Action Plan includes ambitions to be carbon neutral by 2030.
“We are all very aware of the impact that climate change is having, and the council is committed to driving down its carbon emissions and becoming a carbon neutral city,” said Fiona Brown.
“The council is making a positive impact on the environment as we continue updating and transforming our waste and recycling services. The purchase of this vehicle is a very visible and physical demonstration of this council's commitment to carbon reduction while serving residents.
“We are aware of the benefits that EVs bring and can now look more closely how this vehicle performs and the service it can deliver.”
The eCollect will be used across the city over the next 24 months to test its efficiency and cost-effectiveness in different neighbourhoods with a variety of gradients, housing types and road lay-outs.
It will be charged from a 63kW supply, specially adapted for this size of vehicle and more charging infrastructure will be added as the council expands its electric vehicle fleet, which already includes 29 light commercial EVs.
Sunderland’s Fleet Manager Ian Bell said: “This is a very physical demonstration of the council’s continued commitment to clean air.
“EVs are good for the environment and recognised as saving money. This is not just in fuel costs because, when compared with older fossil fuel vehicles, EVs are also generally less expensive on servicing and regular maintenance, so there are many benefits for residents, for the council and our staff.
“A lot of demands are put on our refuse and recycling vehicles so it’s very important in the coming months we understand and evaluate the performance of this type of vehicle. The council can then make further informed decisions about their viability and performance.”