Oxford to trial all-electric refuse collection vehicle to further zero emissions ambitions

Published: Tuesday, 21st July 2020

Oxford is to trial its first all-electric refuse collection vehicle.

ODS, the City Council’s wholly owned company, is to trial an all-electric refuse collection vehicle on the streets of Oxford, as part of the Oxford’s journey to zero carbon and ambition to reduce air pollution to the very lowest levels.

The trial is taking place from Tuesday 21 July – Thursday 23 July, and will allow ODS to assess the vehicle’s performance and suitability to Oxford’s streets ahead of the first delivery of an electric heavy goods vehicle later this year.

During the trial, the vehicle will be used for both residential and commercial waste collection services across the city, including commercial waste collection from Oxford Brookes University.

ODS is aiming to electrify 25% of its fleet of 339 vehicles by 2023.

Currently there are 27 RCVs which cover all the homes and businesses in Oxford. However, when each of these vehicles are replaced with electric it is estimated that there will be almost 750 tonnes less of CO2 pumped out by Oxford per year - the weight of one average car every day.

In total, 34 new electric vehicles will arrive this year including cars, a street sweeper, an excavator, a mix of different sized vans and a refuse collection vehicle (RCV).

In line with the introduction of the electric vehicles, ODS have worked with innogy eMobility Ltd to install a charge point infrastructure across four of their depots to support their transition to a Zero Carbon fleet.

The transition to a zero carbon fleet is in preparation for the proposed Zero Emission Zone, which aims to restrict polluting vehicles and tackle Oxford’s toxic air pollution.

Energy Superhub Oxford

Funding for the trial and the delivery of new electric vehicles comes from Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) - a £41m project designed to integrate and dramatically decarbonise energy, heat and transport systems across the city. 

The ESO consortium includes Oxford City Council, Pivot Power (an EDF Renewables UK company), Habitat Energy, Invinity Energy Systems (formerly RedT), Kensa Contracting and University of Oxford.

The £41m project, which was announced in April 2019, received £10m from the government’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge – of which Oxford City Council was awarded £1,615,169 for its role in the project.

Last week the project saw the installation of the city’s first 50kW rapid electric charger for ODS’ electric vehicle fleet at the ODS depot in Marsh road in Cowley.

ODS has this year taken delivery of nine electric vehicles (EVs) as part of Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO).

“This is a great example of a practical approach to tackling emissions which contribute to our climate and making sure it works for everyone in Oxford.  These highly efficient vehicles are designed to be at least as cost-effective as their diesel counterparts over the course of their lifetime so we need to make sure every aspect of working with them is well planned before taking delivery of the first one. It’s good to see our front-line staff working with the very latest technology, which I know is eagerly awaited.”

Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services

“We’re really excited to be testing the new all-electric refuse collection vehicle (eRCV) this month. This is a very significant investment for us and a major step forward for Oxford. ODS has 27 RCVs to cover all the homes and businesses in Oxford. When each of these is electric that will be almost 750 tonnes less CO2 pumped out by Oxford per year or the weight of one average car every day. Carbon dioxide is a green house gas, so clearly it’s important we end this as soon as possible, but diesel engines also produce nitrogen oxide which is harmful to human health. That’s why we want to start doing the right thing now - imagine when all the vehicles in the city, not just ours, are electric, what a difference this will make to air, not to mention noise pollution” 

Maria Warner, Waste and Recycling Services Manager at ODS