'First of its kind' electric-powered lorry used to collect rubbish in Sunderland

The Dennis Eagle eCollect has joined a fleet aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Credit: Sunderland City Council

A new electric-powered lorry is being used to collect rubbish in Sunderland as part of a two year trial.

Sunderland City Council believes the 27 tonne electric Refuse Collection Vehicle (eRCV) is the first of its kind in the North East. The Dennis Eagle eCollect has joined a fleet aimed at reducing carbon emissions.As it begins its rounds with two loaders and a driver, the Dennis will be collecting approximately 20 tonnes of waste daily and is expected to clock up 10,000 miles every year.It will work from the council depots at South Hylton or Jack Crawford House and will be charged from a 63kw socket specially adapted for this size of vehicle. The vehicle has cost £423,000 - including a contribution of £120,000 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The trial will be comparing the Dennis eRCV against that of an identical conventional diesel one to look at how they perform against each other.The Executive Director of Neighbourhoods, Fiona Brown said: "We are all very aware of the impact that climate change is having and the council is committed to driving down its carbon emissions and Sunderland becoming a carbon neutral city."The council has a fleet of 550 vehicles and continues to explore viable alternatives to the internal combustion engine. This is to ensure that, by 2030 when no new diesel vehicles will be getting built, the council has explored all the options that are available and that all its vehicles will be fully compliant.Over the next 24 months the Dennis will be used across the city to test its suitability in different neighbourhoods, such as on gradients or in terraced streets.Ian Bell, the council's vehicle fleet manager, said: "A lot of demands are put on our refuse and recycling vehicles so it’s very important in coming months we understand and evaluate the performance of this type of vehicle. The council can then make further informed decisions about the viability, performance and range of these vehicles."