First electric vehicle marks step towards a fully electric collection fleet

The City of London Corporation and Veolia have launched the first Electric Refuse Collection Vehicle (eRCV) as part of the UK’s first zero emission collection fleet.

Designed to make a significant improvement to air quality in the City and advance decarbonisation, the new zero emission collection fleet will be operated by Veolia as part of the tech-driven waste collection, recycling, and street cleansing operations. This operational first has been achieved using new innovative technologies for both the charging infrastructure, and the vehicles, which will collect an estimated 20,000 tonnes of residents’ waste and recycling in the Square Mile for the duration of the contract.


To ensure the electricity infrastructure remains resilient for local communities, and at the same time provides sufficient charging for the fleet, Veolia has developed a smart charging system. This intelligent solution compares data including shift patterns, available generation and vehicle power requirements, and uses this in an algorithm that automatically determines which vehicles are charged when in the depot. By using this system the vehicles are available when needed, local grid power availability is maintained, and future expansion of electrical demands can be met as further decarbonisation measures are introduced.

The new 18-tonne and 26-tonne (GVW) pollution-busting vehicles are part of the City Corporation’s plan to ensure at least 90% of the Square Mile meets World Health Organisation guidelines for nitrogen dioxide by 2025. Powered by bespoke 100% recyclable  lithium-ion batteries, rather than diesel, and designed for urban environments with short routes, the vehicles are expected to complete a full shift on one charge. Other technology includes the use of liquid cooled permanent magnet drive motors to ensure the ERCV can withstand stop-start environments where high torque is required.

At Veolia we work closely with our customers to deliver greener solutions that also offer value for money. This new electric solution now opens new possibilities for cleaner air in cities, with the potential of recharging the vehicles using electricity generated from the waste they carry via Energy Recovery Facilities. It marks a major step forward towards carbon net zero targets, and highlights how local authorities can drive sustainability by using green solutions to address their environmental challenges.
Gavin Graveson
Executive Vice-President of Veolia UK & Ireland
These new vehicles will help to further drive down air pollution in the City and improve the environment. We hope this move will encourage local authorities across the country to follow suit in the urgent need to deal with toxic air. This pioneering step complements the work we’re doing to help businesses consolidate vehicle deliveries and use more hybrid models. 64,000 die prematurely in the UK every year from breathing polluted air. We will continue to take steps to ensure that we are reducing emissions from our entire vehicle fleet, for the benefit of all.
Keith Bottomley
Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environment Committee