Electric Refuse Collection Vehicle Project


In partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Magnetic Systems Technology (Magtec), DG Cities is undertaking a project to repower a diesel Refuse Collection Vehicle with an electric drive train and electric actuators for its hydraulic systems. This will be the first example of an electric 26-ton RCV in the UK. The project will show the benefits of low emissions and reduced noise over a full double shift duty cycle.


The UK needs to meet EU legislative targets for air quality and regional and local authorities are seeking new ways to lower emissions that are within their sphere of influence. Magtec’s repowering of a 26-ton Royal Borough of Greenwich vehicle will offer significant CO2 reductions over diesel fleets as well as significant noise reduction benefits. Compared to a diesel Refuse Collection Vehicle that is double shifted and does a 50 mile/day route, the pure electric vehicle gives a savings of 35-tons of CO2e per year.  With annual sales of new refuse vehicles in the UK around 1250/year, the potential for UK wide emissions savings is significant.



Magtec is the UK’s largest and most established manufacturer of drive systems for hybrid and electric commercial vehicles. Magtec has a proven track record of developing new technologies and products, including an Electric Vehicle drivetrain for heavy duty vehicles based on their highly efficient high-power-density-motor technology. In this project, Magtec is the system integrator and supplier to implement the electric systems within a diesel Refuse Collection Vehicle.

Royal Borough of Greenwich

The Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) is one of 33 local authority districts or Boroughs within London. The population of Greenwich is projected to grow by more than one-third in little more than a decade – from 255,000 to 340,000 inhabitants.  Greenwich is facing the challenges caused by rapid increases in and ageing of its population, mobility/congestion, energy demand and other urban services, and by pressure on public budgets and natural resources. To support its operations, RBG operates 27 fully sized (26-ton) Refuse Collection Vehicles and 3 smaller (18-ton) vehicle. In this project, RBG is providing the Refuse Collection Vehicle in which Magtec is going to install electric components, and will use the refurbished vehicle in its refuse collection.

For the Royal Borough of Greenwich this provides a valuable step forward in emissions reduction and noise reduction. This is a priority for the borough, which in common with all local authority areas bordering central London, has arterial roads that are subject to air pollution events in exceedance of the European limit. RBG is committed to reducing the exposure of its residents to poor air quality.

DG Cities

In this project, DG Cities is acting as a research organisation, supporting the trial and analysing the vehicle’s performance, efficiency and environmental impact.

DG Cities is responsible for writing a report on the social impact of the vehicle and is also leading on the exploitation work package.

DG Cities is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It enables Digital Greenwich to work flexibly with external partners in research consortia, local government, consultancy and other new business opportunities related to smart city development. DG Cities Ltd’s clients span the private, public and charity sectors including insurance, real estate developers, local authorities, housing associations and international transport

DG Cities is well placed to lead on this week because of its involvement in relevant networks and standards groups which includes:

  • The UK City Standards Institute (a partnership between the Future Cities Catapult and the British Standards Institution)
  • City Protocol Society (collaborative city let network)
  • ETSI led City Data Protocol group (a telecoms industry network)
  • Euromed: RBG’s Leader is the vice president and Innovation lead for the Euromed network, a network of European and Mediterranean cities.
  • Sharing Cities ‘scale up’ cities