Wilmington awarded $270k in grant funding for electric trash collection truck, would be one of first in state

Wilmington awarded money to fund electric trash truck

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In an effort to curb diesel emissions the state has granted the City of Wilmington approximately $270,000 to fund a fully-electric trash truck to replace a current vehicle.

The funding comes from the 2020 North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant, this year the state DERA grant program offered $616,835 of which the City of Wilmington was awarded $270,586.

“The program is designed to achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions. In fact, the proposed all-electric recycling & trash vehicle will have no emissions, low operating noise and will eliminate any use of diesel fuel, motor oil, coolant fluids, DEF fluid, and potentially hydraulic fluid. The electric vehicle is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 100 tons per year over the replaced diesel packer. The grant will reimburse government agencies to replace diesel-powered vehicles with low or zero-emission vehicles with up to 45% of the eligible project costs and require a 55% public funds match,” according to the City of Wilmington’s City Council agenda.

Of course, one of the challenges electric vehicles face is their range and battery life, but according to the city, that is not going to be an issue for the new truck.

“The 336 kWh battery option will provide up to a 120-mile operating range, which exceeds all current single day RTS routes. The 50kWh charger will enable the vehicle to be fully charged (even if the battery is fully discharged) in about 7 hours. This will allow “off-peak” charging rates (~$.09/kW) and realize further decreased operating costs,” according to the agenda.

If the City Council accepts the grant funding the vehicle could be expected to arrive in Wilmington at the end of 2021 or early 2022. If approved, the City of Wilmington would be one of the first cities in the state to utilize zero-emission trash a collection vehicle.

The City would be responsible for $330,717 in matching funds - almost double what it would cost to replace a truck with a diesel-powered vehicle which are approximately $183,000.

“Our proposed project includes one (1) fully electric rear-load trash truck, the associated charging equipment, and operator, mechanic, and fleet staff training. The 336 kWh Electric Trash Truck’s purchase cost is $573,321, and the 50 kWh charging station is $27,982. These amounts place the grant project application at $601,303, with DERA funding $270,586 and the City capital funding match of $330,717,” according to the request.

While the cost is significantly higher up front, the new truck would make up for it in the long run.

“Energy and maintenance expense reductions are estimated to produce a positive return on investment in year 5 of operations,” according to the request.

City Council will vote on accepting the grant money on Tuesday at their 6:30 p.m. meeting located at the Wilmington Convention Center.

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