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Burnaby city council approves purchase of $1M electric garbage truck

'There is value in this purchase even though it is slightly more, quite a bit more, than a diesel equivalent,' public works director Erik Schmidt said to Burnaby city council about a new $1M electric garbage truck.
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A $1-million electric garbage truck approved by Burnaby city council this week may be 60 per cent more expensive than a standard diesel truck, but staff say it could pay for itself in a matter of years.

City council unanimously approved the purchase of the vehicle at a meeting Monday.

At $1,050,000, the truck is about 60 per cent more expensive than a regular diesel powered garbage truck, but Erik Schmidt, the city's director of public works, said the cost will be offset by up to $300,000 in provincial and federal incentive rebates.

There will also be maintenance and operating savings, according to Schmidt, including the cost of 20,000 litres of diesel.

The electric truck will also mean 60 tonnes of GHG credits, according Schmidt.

"There is value in this purchase even though it is slightly more, quite a bit more than a diesel equivalent," he told council.

Schmidt said the city could even see "cost recovery" on the purchase after the truck has been in operation for five years.

The truck is also another step toward the city meeting its carbon-neutrality goals.

With all the advantages outlined by staff, Coun. Pietro Calendino had just one question:

"Why are we limiting it to only one truck?" he asked.

"I think we want to try them out first to see if they actually work," Mayor Mike Hurley said.

Schmidt agreed with the mayor, saying staff may be back with more requests once the truck is deemed "fit for service."

The new electric truck has a range of about 800 houses and three unloads, according to Schmidt, but Burnaby is hilly.

"We want to make sure that we can maintain that duration and that endurance," he said.

The city put out a request for proposals for the electric truck in November and got five bids, according to a staff report Monday.

Schmidt said the city looked at "many brands and many vendors."

Rollins Machinery Limited, the company picked to deliver the truck has supplied the city with heavy duty vehicles in the past and has a proven track record, the report said.

Besides the advantages outlined by staff, Hurley noted the trucks will be quieter than regular diesel trucks, and Coun. Alison Gu pointed out they will mean better air quality for the people who work with them.

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Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com