The vehicle is a Renault Trucks E-Tech D Wide electric rear-steer chassis with the Dennis Eagle OL21 body and Terberg Xtra bin lift and is one of two identical vehicles to be supplied to CTS Hire by RH Commercial Vehicles (RHCV). The trucks are powered by 4x 66kW lithium batteries located in the wheelbase.

The council will be assessing how the vehicle performs in comparison with a conventional diesel vehicle whilst collecting waste from households and businesses across the Borough. This will include monitoring the running and maintenance costs, the impact of frequent start and stops and bin lifts on vehicle battery life and the impact of charging requirements on staff working patterns, as well as the 27t vehicle’s suitability on the Borough’s varied collection rounds, in different neighbourhoods, streets, and gradients.

Cllr Ernest Gibson, lead member for Housing and Transport, said: 'Our diesel refuse collection vehicles perform a hugely demanding task.

'Every waste collection round is different and puts a different strain on vehicles and our crews, which is why it is important to give this specialist electric bin lorry a thorough test drive in real-life day to day operations

'We’re delighted to be the first local council to test this new electric refuse collection vehicle from CTS Hire and give our waste collection crews the chance to work with the latest technology.

'We’re excited to see how well it works for us and will be monitoring how it performs, particularly over the winter period and in inclement weather.

'This will help us to understand the capabilities of electric refuse collection vehicles and make informed decisions about their viability for potential use in South Tyneside in the future.'

The council has a fleet of around 325 vehicles, 18 of which are electric. The fleet accounts for 11 per cent of the 17,000 tonnes of carbon emissions that the Council must cut to achieve its ambitious targets to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Gibson added: 'We have set an ambitious target for carbon emission reductions by 2030 across our council operations and introducing more electric vehicles to our fleet is one of the ways we are working to meet our objectives.

'These electric trucks are much quieter than their diesel counterparts and have zero C02 emissions leading to reduced noise and air pollution, which makes them ideal for operating in busy urban areas. More sustainable alternatives are a huge step in the right direction for us to achieve our aims while continuing to deliver the front-line services on which our residents rely.'

Bob Sweetland, managing director, CTS Hire: 'We are delighted to be able to give South Tyneside Council this unique opportunity to hire an electric refuse vehicle. We hope the trial will prove to be a success and lead to the adoption of more electric vehicles in the area to help the council achieve its carbon reduction target.'