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by Helen Holt

EnviroWaste Timaru has adopted an EV truck for its recycling collections.

The truck started collection on July 5 for servicing multi-unit dwellings where residents are using stacker crates.

EnviroWaste South Island manager Kevin Edgar said the company was determined to deliver on environmental standards.

“Pioneering the industry with cutting-edge technology is nothing new for EnviroWaste, having introduced Australasia’s first fully electric, true zero-emission side-loader waste collection truck.

“These vehicles are efficient, packed with safety features and help the environment, supporting EnviroWaste’s commitment to delivering the highest environmental standards, with the most innovative and sustainable solutions.

“We are currently exploring different vehicles and machinery and will continue to innovate and develop in this space.”

The company hoped to make its entire light vehicle fleet electric, hybrid, or powered by alternative fuels by 2024, Mr Edgar said.

“As an organisation, we dedicate substantial investment and resources to ensure that we are delivering to the highest environmental standards and the most innovative and sustainable solutions.

“We are also transitioning, where possible, to electric heavy commercial vehicles and industrial machinery.”

The electric trucks presented some challenges, particularly when it came to the greater demands associated with heavy loads, he said.

“Waste trucks in particular come with a unique challenge of their own: while the distances they cover are often short, the hydraulic system on the back requires a significant amount of power and is traditionally driven by a diesel engine.”

An electric version had felt like a pipedream.

“Achieving operational efficiency out of an electric truck was simply not commercially viable six years ago.

“However, with a dedicated in-house team and the right partners, the impossible became a reality.

“We have since gone on to introduce a range of electric and hybrid vehicles that have met and, in some cases, exceeded our goals.”

Councils look to EVs to cut emissions

Environment Canterbury is aiming for zero emission public transport by 2035.

The council has three electric vehicles (EVs) for public transport in Christchurch.

Acting director of finance and corporate services Katherine Trought said ECan would aim for zero and low-emission vehicle options for Timaru’s MyWay service if its contract was renewed in October.

The council has adopted hybrid vehicles in its staff fleet.

There are three fully electric vehicles and 26 hybrids based at the Christchurch office, and four hybrids based in Timaru.

Ms Trought said the council hoped to have a policy for its staff fleet in the future.

“At this stage we don’t have a policy but we have been very deliberate about adding them to our fleet in recent years.

“We were also a partner in the earlier electric vehicle trial in Christchurch called Yoogo. We also have ebikes and electric scooters available for around-town staff travel.”

The Timaru District Council has some hybrid cars in its fleet but, as yet, no full EVs.

Group manager infrastructure Andrew Dixon said that was due to the council not having the charging infrastructure in place.

“We have efficiency standards for our vehicle purchases, but as part of the establishment of the new Climate Change unit, they will be looking at how we can add appropriate alternatively powered vehicles to our fleet.”

A South Canterbury District Health Board spokesman said the board was committed to reducing emissions by buying hybrid vehicles.

“Over the past four years we have been replacing our fleet with hybrid models. Currently, we are at 70% hybrid and one fully electric vehicle.”

The Timaru district has 150 light electric vehicles registered to owners, out of more than 4400 in Canterbury, according to the Ministry of Transport.

There are 105 light EVs registered in Timaru, 29 in Geraldine, five in Pleasant Point, eight in Temuka and one in Cave.