Wakefield Council electric bin wagon trial thwarted by 'charging faults'
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The authority is currently testing a battery powered refuse collection vehicle as part of a drive to become carbon net zero by 2030.
The wagon, which has a Mercedes Econic chassis and can carry 10 tonnes of waste per load, has been in use since July this year and is being trialled for 12 months.
A report to councillors by Jack Hemingway, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, states: “The last 10 weeks up to the last week have been unfortunately a mix of in and out of service due to recurring charging infrastructure and on-board charging faults.”
The report adds that the issue has been challenging for the vehicle supplier, manufacturer and operational staff “who are keen to make the trial a success.”
Refuse vehicles account for nearly half of the council’s greenhouse gas emissions from transport.
One diesel truck produces as much greenhouse gas in a year as seven vans.
Last week, senior councillors approved an £8.8m project to replace its fleet of petrol and diesel cars and vans with electric vehicles.
Council staff drive over 500 vehicles and operate more than 600 other pieces of equipment, such as tractors and ride-on mowers.
The Council’s bin wagons and gritters will continue to use diesel due to “uncertainties with technology and performance” of larger vehicles.
Coun Hemingway’s report states: “The trial was relaunched last week and the operational team are being offered retraining.
“Both transport and waste services are working with the climate change team to collate performance information so that its suitability can be robustly assessed and further updates will be provided as the trial progresses.
“The data we have so far confirms the decision to leave refuse collection out of the upcoming round of electric vehicle procurement.”
The report adds that the Council’s mechanics and technicians are also undergoing formal training to prepare them for “the path to an ultra-low emission fleet”.
In 2019, the Council declared a Climate Emergency with a stated aim of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.