Waste Management launches first electric rubbish truck
Christchurch will be the first city in the southern hemisphere to use a fully electric residential waste collection truck.
Waste Management managing director Tom Nickels said the company began operating an electric truck earlier this year to collect food waste from Countdown supermarkets across Auckland,
"It exceeded our expectations as far as performance went. And we're already using 23 light electric vehicles.
"We've had the new truck for two weeks and it can cover 200 kilometres before recharging."
Nickels said it was a proof of concept trial.
The first vehicle had proved expensive because the truck had to be shipped to Netherlands electric vehicle company EMOSS for conversion.
"Within 12 months we'll be the agent for the company in New Zealand to carry out conversions here," Nickels said.
More electric trucks will be added to Waste Management's 800-strong fleet in other cities towards the end of 2017.
Nickels said the truck's own charging system kicked in when the motor decelerated and when brakes were applied, which happened frequently during the stop-start collections in city streets.
The Christchurch truck won't be used to take waste to the Waipara landfill 80 kilometres north, but it will benefit in a theoretical sense.
This was because Waste Management's landfills generate electricity which was fed into the national grid.
The landfill's are sealed and can capture naturally emitted gas from the waste as it breaks down, and is then fed into generators to create electricity.
The gas emissions captured are capable of powering 18,000 homes nationally.
Initial calculations suggest collecting waste in the new truck from 1200 to 1500 homes per day will fill the truck to its 16 Tonne capacity.
The gas produced by the waste through the landfill would produce approximately 6000 kilowatts of electricity - enough energy to run the truck, plus additional power to run 275 homes for one day.
Waste Management's landfills produced 18 megawatts, with 12MW from its Redvale landfill in Auckland.
The Waipara landfill in Kate Valley produced 2MW and would double its output by the end of the year, Nickels said.
"With a large fleet of trucks and cars on the road we believe we can help safeguard our environment for future generations through the adoption of electric vehicle technology," Nickels said.