The order, worth almost £10 million, is claimed to be the biggest ever placed for electric RCVs in the UK.
When delivered, the new trucks will make up almost half the RCV fleet operating on the Manchester Council contract. The capital cost is marginally more than that of conventional diesel vehicles, but energy savings and the availability of grants will offset the price difference.
Manchester’s vehicles are based on the Mercedes-Banz Econic chassis and are fitted with a Geesink N4 body, and an Omnidel split bin lift from Terberg Matec.
The switch to electric RCVs will save around 900 tonnes of carbon emissions a year, cutting about four per cent off Manchester’s current direct annual emissions.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods, Manchester City Council, commented: ‘As a council, we have said all along that we will have to do things very differently to realise our ambition to cut carbon emissions dramatically.
“We are proud, together with Biffa, that our waste collection service is at the forefront of the forward-thinking response to the climate change challenge, and we hope it will inspire others to follow suit.
‘The only difference to the new service that residents should notice is that the new vehicles are quieter and cleaner.”
Sid Sadique, chair of Electra Commercial Vehicles, commented: ‘This has been an 18-month project in partnership with Manchester City Council and Biffa, with an Electra refuse collection vehicle being on trial in the city for 18 months.
“The trial proved that a fully-electric vehicle does the same job as its diesel equivalent with no compromise on payload or operation with the benefit of zero tailpipe emissions.’
Councillor Angeliki Stogia, executive member for environment, Manchester City Council, commented: “This significant investment in new electric refuse collection vehicles is an excellent example of the Council’s commitment to playing its full part in tackling climate change and will also contribute to better air quality.
“We have seen during the coronavirus lockdown how less pollution and better air quality benefits everyone.
‘Climate change is an urgent challenge which we are getting on with addressing.”
Roger Edwards, managing director, municipal division at Biffa, said: “This latest development in our longstanding partnership with Manchester City Council demonstrates Biffa’s commitment to being at the forefront of the electric refuse collection vehicles innovation.
“Embracing this technology forms a key part of our group-wide sustainability strategy and target to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. We look forward to this project with Manchester and are confident it will be the first of many of its kind across the country as the UK sees the multiple benefits that electric refuse vehicles can bring.”
Manchester City Council and Biffa were supported and advised on the purchase by the Energy Saving Trust. Government Plug-in grants, designed to encourage a switch to electric vehicles, ensure a reduced fleet cost for the Council.
The new vehicles will arrive at Biffa’s Manchester depot and start operating in the autumn, with the final truck of the series expected near the end of 2020.
Electra’s 27 – 350 vehicle has an unladen bodied weight of 16.350 kg, around 500 kg more than the diesel equivalent, and is capable of operating on a 12-hour urban collection cycle including 1200 bin lifts before recharging.
The traction motor has a peak output of 350 kW, and peak torque of 260 kW. Continuous power and torque outputs are 260 kW and 2060 Nm, respectively.
Two 22 KW AC to DC chargers are installed, and when both are used together recharge time is five hours on a three-phase supply. Alternatively, if a DC – DC ultrafast charging station is used, recharge time is reduced to 3.5 hours. Lithium iron phosphate prismatic cell batteries are used, and the standard 225 kW/h capacity can be increased to 287 kW/h if required.
The Dennis Eagle hydraulic twin pump required to operate the bin lift and compactor body is powered by an Engiro 61 kW motor via a Servcon Gen 4 inverter.
Electra also recently signed a deal with Iveco to secure the supply of unpowered Eurocargo ‘glider’ chassis for conversion into electric urban delivery vehicles.