Two local authorities in Cambridgeshire have taken delivery of their first all-electric bin lorry as part of their drive to go green.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service – a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City councils – has purchased a Dennis Eagle ‘eCollect’, which is now being used to collect residents’ recycling.

The move marks the start of a drive to replace all the waste service’s collection lorries with electric or hydrogen vehicles as their existing trucks come to the end of their working lives.

The new fully electric Dennis Eagle ‘eCollect’ has five specially designed battery packs generating 300kWh of power and a 200kW electric motor, which makes it very quiet.

Fully loaded it will weigh around 26 tonnes and will typically take around seven to eight hours to recharge, easily completing a full day of collection rounds and returning to the depot with charge remaining in the battery.

The new vehicle has cost around £400,000 and while this is more than a traditional diesel bin collection lorry, the councils expect the whole-life cost to be at the very least the same – if not less – than a diesel vehicle due to reduced servicing, fuel and general running costs.

The Shared Waste service has around 55 collection vehicles which run on diesel and are among the largest emitters of CO2 at both councils. Currently, the Shared Waste Service uses around 50,000 litres of diesel a month at a cost of approximately £55,000.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead cabinet member for environmental services and licensing, Cllr Brian Milnes, commented: ‘We are committed to playing our part in the battle to combat climate change and “Being Green To Our Core” is a central part of our business plan.

‘Taking delivery of our very first all-electric bin lorry is another exciting milestone for us on that journey. It not only makes environmental sense but is a financially sound thing to do as we expect the lifetime cost of the new electric lorry to be no more, if not cheaper, than a diesel one.

‘We are also looking at whether we can install a solar farm near our main waste depot to provide clean, renewable energy for this vehicle and future ones to come, making us completely self-sufficient when it comes to charging our vehicles.’

Cambridge City Council’s executive councillor for climate change, environment and city centre, Cllr Rosy Moore, added: ‘I’m excited to see our very first all-electric bin lorry collecting recycling from blue bins in Greater Cambridge.

‘As well as reducing emissions, this new lorry will contribute to cleaner air which is another important factor given our focus on air quality in and around the city. I’m sure our excellent crews will quickly become familiar with the new truck and residents will be able to spot it very easily thanks to its striking green paint job.

‘Our Shared Waste Service already has some vans which are powered by electricity, and I hope this is the first of many electric or hydrogen bin collection vehicles that will be arriving in the years ahead.’ Dennis Eagle’s sales and marketing director, Richard Taylor, said: ‘I am very proud of the zero emissions eCollect which is a landmark vehicle.

‘The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service is among the first operators in the UK to purchase the vehicle. This is not only going to benefit people who live or work in the area but will also help drive the switch to electric vehicles across the UK.’