A Geesinknorba electric RCV took to the streets of Cambridge on Thursday 20 June, Clean Air Day 2019, to demonstrate the potential of electric technology for waste management fleets.

The event was organised with South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council, which together operate the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, responsible for collecting eight million bins in South Cambridgeshire villages and Cambridge city each year.
Council leaders at both authorities have pledged to deliver changes to make the area carbon neutral in the future and improve local air quality. The shared waste service currently has 50 diesel-powered RCVs and 18 diesel street sweeping vehicles and the Clean Air Day event was an opportunity for fleet managers and councillors to assess the potential of battery-electric power to reduce emissions, improve efficiency, and lower vehicle running costs.
Geesinknorba estimates that a typical, conventionally-powered RCV will consume around 70 litres of diesel a day, which means annual emission of 52 tonnes of CO2, 160kg of CO, and 380kg of NOX gases. In comparison, the all-electric vehicle produces zero emissions and could potentially be charged by electricity produced from entirely renewable sources.
The running costs are also significantly reduced at around a tenth of the cost of conventional diesel. The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service's current RCVs only travel between four to six miles to the gallon and fuelling the fleet costs the councils around £46,000 every four weeks, so the savings of switching to electric could be considerable.
Council leaders have said they hope moving to electric power for bin collections is not too far away. Solar panels were recently installed on the roof of the shared waste depot at Waterbeach to provide green electricity for the offices, and two electric vans are already in use for carrying out non-collection work in the area.
Cllr Bill Handley, South Cambridgeshire District Council's Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, said: ‘The speed of technological progress in electric vehicles is breath-taking and it's good to see that electric bin collection vehicles are part of that progress. A battery-powered bin lorry that weighs, fully loaded, 26 tonnes would have seemed impossible only a few years ago. We want to be green to our core at the council and we will look seriously at anything that helps us to achieve our goals. Innovative firms such as Geesinknorba are already introducing green energy powered bin lorries on shorter city rounds such as in Manchester and I am sure that vehicles suited to our rural environment are only a few years away. When they are launched, we will give them serious consideration; we will be watching developments closely.'
Cllr Rosy Moore, Cambridge City Council's Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre, said: ‘Tackling pollution in the City Centre is really important and as a council, we want to be at the centre of the green agenda. Electric RCVs are one of the ways we can do this, and it has been interesting to see first-hand what they are capable of. I'm excited to see the progress that is made over the coming months and years and we very much want to see electric vehicles driving up and down the streets in the city.'
The event was also an opportunity to showcase the vehicle to other public and private sector fleet operators. More than 30 representatives from local authorities and private operators joined councillors from South Cambridgeshire District Council and Cambridge City Council to find out more about what this technology can bring to waste management fleets.
Attendees were able to experience the handling and performance of the vehicle first-hand in ride and drive sessions throughout the day, before Geesinknorba Product Manager and battery-electric vehicles expert André Lagendijk delivered a presentation on the current and future potential of this technology.
Mick Hill, UK Business Director for Geesinknorba, said: ‘We were delighted to supply one of our fully-electric RCVs to the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service for Clean Air Day before it goes into service with Fiveways in its fleet of hire vehicles.
‘Sustainability is hugely important to our business and Geesinknorba has been pioneering alternative fuel solutions for many years. Our Li-On Power Pro electric technology can help waste and recycling fleets reduce emissions, improve local air quality, and save on running costs and today was a great opportunity to demonstrate the vehicle in and around Cambridge. I would like to thank everyone involved in organising such a fantastic event.'