The City of Ocala, Florida, announced the addition of electric-powered refuse trucks to the sanitation fleet on Aug. 19. The city will be among the early adopters of the new technology in the country and one of the first cities to implement these sanitation trucks in Florida. The city received delivery of three trucks in July, with an additional purchase of two more vehicles scheduled for 2022.
In May 2020, the City of Ocala received a $777,000 Diesel Emission Reduction Act Award grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to replace heavy-duty diesel-fueled trucks with zero-emission, electric-powered refuse trucks. The initiative to transition a segment of the diesel fleet to electric power will result in fuel cost savings, reduced diesel emissions, and operational efficiencies. The electric-powered refuse trucks will be used on residential routes and are 70% quieter than their diesel counterparts. The trucks have an operating range of approximately 125 miles and will be charged overnight (off-peak hours) via 40 kWh battery chargers.
The city estimates the long-term cost savings are worth the initial investment. With fewer moving parts, electric-powered trucks cost less to repair and maintain. The new vehicles consume about $30 of electric energy per route, compared to the estimated $130 per route with a traditional diesel vehicle. Combined with the fuel cost savings, the electric trucks are estimated to provide a total life cycle savings of approximately $270,000. These savings translate to a significant return on investment for taxpayers.
The electric-powered trucks will be deployed in early September and will be used for residential routes where a side loader sanitation truck is traditionally used. Staff is currently being trained on the new vehicles to ensure continued focus on customer efficiency and effectiveness on service routes.