Liverpool is trialling an electric street sweeper as part of a drive to make the city green and clean.
The test-run of the Bucher CityCat 2-2-ev cleaner is part of a wider plan to introduce a diesel-free fleet of council vehicles in the city centre by 2019, and across the city by 2024. They would be replaced by a range of electric, compressed gas and natural gas vehicles.
Operating costs for the CityCat are 75 percent less than a traditional diesel – and each vehicle can save the environment from up to 26 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
It can run for up to eight hours when fully powered and can be charged up at any public car-charging station in around 2-3 hours.
It follows a request from Mayor Joe Anderson last year for the prioritisation of electric vehicles and clean fuels in order to reduce the impact of air pollution on residents under an initiative known as ‘Breathe Liverpool’.
In Liverpool, particulate air pollution contributes to four percent of all deaths, and long term exposure contributes to heart diseases and stroke, lung cancer and respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic bronchitis.
VIDEO: The electric road sweeper in action at the (very windy!) Pier Head
Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet member for city services, said: “All vehicles, no matter how large or small, contribute towards pollution levels in the city and as a local authority which has a large fleet it is right and proper that we show the way forward.
“As a city we have made great strides in reducing levels of sulphur dioxide over recent years, pollution from vehicle related emissions such as Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulate Matter is still too high.
“It is not good enough for us to be just below the worst, as it still has a direct effect on the health of many residents and creates a huge cost for the NHS, which means it has to be a real priority.
“There is already a lot of good work going on delivered by partners such as Merseytravel, but we can support that by using our influence to deliver changes which will improve air quality.
“Although there will be an upfront cost to buying new vehicles, they are far cheaper to run and maintain which will deliver a saving in the long term.
“By 2025 we want the city to have developed a central heart where walking, cycling, electric vehicles and clean fuels will dominate.”
A total of 100 electric vehicle charging points are also being planned across the city to improve air quality in Liverpool. Work is underway identifying council car parks, supermarkets, leisure centres and streets in areas such as the Baltic Triangle.
The city is no longer one of those identified by Government being over the statutory limit for Nitrogen Dioxide and last year dropped to 26 out of 50 local authorities for levels of Particulate Matter.
The city council is working with the Combined Authority to determine the costs of introducing a Clean Air Zone.