Electric trucks are perfectly suited to refuse trucks work. Councils typically work to a green agenda. These two points alone should mean that the UK’s refuse truck fleet will be amongst the first to be totally electric. The only sticking point is the cost and therefore typical lifespan of these types of trucks. They are kept for a long time, perhaps ten years or more in some cases.  This means that the existing, expensive diesel trucks will be with us for some years yet and that the electric replacements will be eye-wateringly expensive to buy.

As an early adopter of the electric truck technology, Peterborough City Council has introduced the first electric trucks to its fleet, two 26-tonne Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide Low Entry Cab with CP Davidson Titan refuse collection bodies, supplied by RH Commercial Vehicles (RHCV).  

The new electric refuse collection vehicles (eRCVs) are part of the council’s commitment to make all of its activities net zero by 2030, which includes replacing all council vehicles with low carbon alternatives. 

60% Emissions Reduction

The new fully electric arrivals are the first Renault Trucks to join the council’s 150-strong fleet and are expected to cut emissions by 60% compared with the previous diesel vehicles they replace. This is based upon recharging from the National Grid standard mix. 

The procurement process was undertaken by Aragon Direct Services, Peterborough’s Local Authority Trading Company (LATCO), which manages the council’s environmental services. 

Part of the recycling and waste fleet, the new eRCVs will initially work on garden waste collections and will be trialled on other waste streams in the coming months. Collections are transferred to Peterborough’s Energy from Waste plant at Fengate, where 85,000 tonnes of residential waste can be converted into electricity to power 16,000 homes. 

Renault Electric Dustcart
The new fully electric arrivals are expected to cut emissions by 60% compared with the previous diesel vehicles they replace

Peterborough City Council’s two eRCVs are the first Renault Trucks in the UK to be fitted with four 94kW battery packs, which offer up to 40% more capacity, ideal to power the longer running times, multiple bin lifts and waste compaction demanded by the intensive refuse collection operation.  The new vehicles are expected to cover 120km and up to 1,300 bin lifts per day, over a ten-hour shift. 

Ian Spence, Director of Operations at Peterborough Limited, of which Aragon Direct Services is part, says:  “These new Renault Trucks E-Tech eRCVs are the first step to a greener fleet for Peterborough City Council, delivering for our residents almost silently with zero tailpipe emissions.  As we transition to a decarbonised fleet, our vehicles need to keep up with the demands of our operation, and the increased capacity of the Renault Trucks 94kW batteries makes the difference.” 

Featuring CP Davidson Titan refuse bodies, both E-Tech D Wides are equipped with Renault Trucks’ low-entry cab, which offers easier and safer access and egress for operators on urban cycles making hundreds of collections a day. 

The eRCVs are charged overnight at Aragon Direct Service’s Fengate depot, where all maintenance is carried out in-house, following full training on how to work safely on electric vehicles undertaken by the expert team at RHCV.

Driver feedback has been positive: “The drive is very smooth and powerful and all around, a really nice drive. When on the rounds, it has been very quiet, you can only really hear the bin lifts and the indicators. The local residents seem to appreciate that as diesel collections have always been quite noisy. It’s been so quiet I have seen residents running after us with their bins as they don’t know we are there.”

Councillor Nigel Simons, Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Climate Change: “We are fully committed to reducing carbon emissions in everything that we do as a council and these new electric vehicles will play a key role in this. Residents may notice the new vehicles by how quiet they are. It’s fantastic to have them in our fleet and we look forward to monitoring their progress over the coming months.” 

Grahame Neagus, Head of LCV and Municipal at Renault Trucks UK & Ireland, says: “We are delighted that Aragon Direct Services has selected the Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide for the first electric trucks on Peterborough City Council’s fleet. We work collaboratively with all our customers to ensure they are supported at every stage of their decarbonisation journey, and we are pleased to be working with Aragon Direct Services to help them deliver on Peterborough City Council’s net zero ambitions.” 

Paul Pearson, Commercial Director of RH Commercial Vehicles, says:  “I am delighted to see these two trucks begin work in Peterborough. The rollout of the 94kW batteries shows we are making major steps in providing sustainable and efficient solutions for everyone in the transport industry. Sustainability is crucial for customers who provide essential services in urban settings such as refuse collection. It helps their climate goals become even more obtainable.

“As these vehicles are 100% electric and have zero emissions, local residents can benefit from cleaner air and improved quality of life.

All vehicles on the Peterborough City Council fleet are given appropriate names and, following a competition to name the new eRCVs, the council is proud to introduce Usain Volt and Electric Boogaloo to the city’s streets.