Waste Management NZ (WMNZ) is New Zealand's leading waste and environmental services provider, driven by a focus on safety, sustainability and service and underpinned by innovation, with more than 300,000 customers across the country. We provide recycling and resource recovery services, waste collection, Hazardous Waste and disposal.
We have one of NZ’s largest heavy vehicle fleets of 900 trucks most designed in NZ, and 200 light vehicles. We design, construct and operate state-of-the-art facilities, including modern sustainable landfill and energy parks, where captured methane enables us to generate electricity – the largest of which generates enough to power more than 18,000 homes.
We are always looking to make our business more sustainable, providing leadership for our customers and the community in managing NZ’s waste. Transitioning to an electric fleet was identified as a key initiative in WMNZ’s Sustainability Commitment, launched in 2016.
Investing in electric cars and trucks was an obvious opportunity to improve service to our customers by re-use of their waste; collecting that waste to generate electricity in our landfill and energy parks, powering our collection fleet to once again service our customers.
Our truck fleet requires over 10 million litres of diesel per year and is a key component of WMNZ’s carbon footprint. Each electric truck that is introduced, replacing a diesel-powered vehicle, will save an average of 125 litres of diesel per day. Conversion of our entire fleet would save 100,000 litres of diesel a day. Not only a financial saving, but a massive improvement in our carbon footprint and a corresponding reduction in NZ and global emissions.
For this reason, WMNZ has monitored the rapidly evolving battery technology over the last five years, believing it would drive a huge shift in the adoption of electric vehicles, particularly for trips of short distances where the key hurdle for adoption – range anxiety – shouldn’t be a barrier at all.
For our collection trucks, which on average travel 200km per day, range anxiety was a major concern. The stop-start nature of a collection truck, where the driver stops to pick up and empty a bin up to 1200 times per day, is a perfect use-case for electric rather than diesel . Each time the truck stops, the deceleration creates regenerative energy that recharges on board batteries. This is in stark contrast to conventional fossil fuel powered vehicles where the energy is lost through braking into the atmosphere as heat.
Finding the right conversion partner for us was critical. We needed a company with a proven track record in conversions which we found in Netherland’s- based EMOSS. EMOSS have understood our business and worked with our team on forming best practice protocols and solutions for implementing into our ongoing EV programme.
Our electric collection truck pilot started in mid-2016, with EMOSS commissioned to convert three diesel trucks. The first box-body truck arrived back in NZ in late 2016. Today, it is working on a range of collection activities around Auckland and driven approximately 80,000km. Our EV Side loader has the ability to collect 1200 bins a day and operate all day, typical 11 hours day.
Following this initial commitment, WMNZ signed an agreement with EECA to support the development of an electric truck conversion workshop in Auckland which opened in March 2018.
Our EV Workshop – EV Innovation Hub has since converted 12 trucks to EV and continues to support our operations teams transition into operating an EV fleet.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through EVs
Our EV programme, which commenced in 2016, is part of our effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning from diesel internal combustion engine trucks to zero emission battery electric trucks.
A quantifiable benefit from this project will be a decrease in WMNZ’s diesel use and a corresponding reduction in WMNZ’s carbon footprint. Non-quantifiable benefits will be associated public health benefits from lower particulates emitted from lower levels of diesel use and lower noise pollution.
In addition, WMNZ has upskilled our teams to drive, maintain and manage EVs, including co-investment with EECA in our electric vehicle workshops. New skills have been and continue to be recruited to keep us at the forefront of EV technology in NZ and globally.
To date, our EV programme has progressed to include 27 fully electric trucks operating on the road and a number in build which will take our EV fleet to 30 by the end of 2021. The most recent addition being 10 EV trucks for Hutt City Council collections contract and an EV electric rear loader truck in Dunedin, built to work exclusively with the University of Otago as part of our sustainability partnership.
We operate one of the largest EV truck fleets in Australasia. We also have 93 EV cars in our light fleet. All our EV truck conversions are heavy trucks with GVM between 10,000kg and 22,000kg.
Converted vehicles will typically save an average of 125 litres of diesel per day, no longer producing CO2 emissions. With the size of WMNZ’s current fleet at 900 vehicles, this could save approx. 100,000 litres of diesel a day.
Watch our video to learn more about our modern engineered landfills and how they are powering homes across Aotearoa.