Geesink plugs in for electric dreams

The UK's first plug-in electric refuse collection truck has taken to the streets in Wales, claiming to offer significant environmental, operational and cost benefits to users

The UK’s first plug-in electric refuse collection vehicle recently powered up for its launch in Cardiff Bay outside the Welsh Assembly offices, an event that drew support from Wales’ Minister for Environment, Sustain-ability & Housing, Jane Davidson. The vehicle has been developed by Geesink Norba, which also has its UK headquarters and manufacturing facilities in South Wales.

The plug-in electric vehicle uses electric power for the bin-lifting, and the crushing and compaction cycle, which it does almost silently and with potential for zero carbon emissions. The noise from conventional vehicles that use diesel engines to power these operations limits the hours in which waste can be collected. But Geesink’s truck gives operators the potential to work any time without disturbing people – a major selling point, according to the company.

The power comes from a battery that is recharged overnight. Geesink’s UK business director, Geoff Rigg, says: “The weight of the battery package is 1.2 tonnes, but we’ve placed it so that 75% of that weight is distributed over the front axle so it only has a very minor impact on payload. For example, this means that with a 17.5m3 body, it still offers a legal payload of around 10 tonnes.”

The battery is fully charged overnight by plugging it into an electric socket, enabling the collection of 15-16 tonnes of waste material, but there is also an option to recharge the battery by power takeoff during the round.

Out on its own
“There is nothing like it on the market, so it’s attracting a huge amount of interest,” claims Riggs. “The vehicle itself is tried and tested – it’s been in operational use in Sweden for six years, where it has proven a major success. It works perfectly with the full range of chassis from different manufacturers and is available across all our main product ranges.”

He continues: “The maximum efficiencies will be gained when operators use it in conjunction with other Geesink Norba products. We’ve recently launched a new bin lift – the S500 – which operates as either a fully automatic high-performance split lift or as a front-line trade lift.”

According to Rigg, the plug-in electric vehicle and the S500 lift working together on one vehicle represents the future of RCV design and manufacturing. The same combination also offers the potential for significant savings, especially for a customer operating a fleet of these vehicles as they won’t need to buy and run as many to meet their needs.

“And as recycling and the collection of food waste become increasingly important, our MF50 multi-faction pods come into their own by enabling operators to collect and keep separate different waste material at the same time. It means fewer journeys and significant fuel and time savings, especially when combining an MF50 pod with a plug-in electric body on one vehicle.”

Welsh minister offers backing
Welsh Minister Jane Davidson greeted the launch enthusiastically, saying the use of electric vehicles – especially with electricity generated from renewable sources – was vital to future sustainability. “Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world. A key part of how we face up to this challenge will be the use of new technology, which will bring new economic opportunities for companies in Wales,” she said.

She added: “Geesink Norba is a great example of how we can make the most of these potential green jobs, with 140 people employed on site at Llantrisant making a world-class product. This low-emission truck, built here in Wales, shows how electric vehicles will play an important part in a low carbon future.”

Chris Tecca, managing director of Geesink Norba, who flew in from the company’s European headquarters in the Netherlands for the launch, added: “The launch of this vehicle in the UK marks a significant step forward in the waste collection and recycling industry. Not only is it more environmentally friendly than anything else on the market, it also offers real savings to operators.”

The plug-in electric vehicles will be assembled at Geesink’s factory in Llantrisant, South Wales. The first vehicles will be going to two of the UK’s biggest contractors – Serco, for use in Hammersmith and Fulham, and Veolia. LAWR understand that orders from other customers have already been received and will be announced in a few weeks.

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