Update on the council’s fleet replacement programme

A total of 53 council vehicles are to be changed in the next financial year with either zero emissions or reduced emissions replacements through dual fuel, after committee members today agreed the move.

Aberdeen City Council’s city growth and resources committee agreed the replacement programme which is part of the overall £28.107million Fleet Replacement Programme for 2021/22 to 2025/26 approved on 10 March 2021.

The vehicles include 22 bin lorries which will be converted to run on hydrogen and diesel, a new electric bin lorry, a new hydrogen bin lorry, 28 electric vehicles, and an electric minibus. These vehicles will increase the City Council’s zero emission fleet to 15% the journey away from carbon fuel is progressed.

City growth and resources committee Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “It is fantastic to see the progress on our Fleet Replacement Programme.

“The new vehicles will not only help to ensure cleaner air around Aberdeen but will also contribute towards Aberdeen City Council’s aim of net zero.

“I look forward to seeing the new vehicles when they start being used around the city in the coming 11 months.”

A report to committee said the purpose of the Fleet Replacement Programme is to ensure the council maintains an optimum operating age profile of the HGV Fleet to a maximum seven-year profile and vans to five-year profile. The programme also provides for the replacement of an assortment of mobile plant and small hand-held plant. This ongoing practice aims to minimise expensive repair costs and ensure the vehicle being replaced has an enhanced value.

The programme has also been updated to reflect the Council’s Net Zero ambition to work towards de-carbonising its in-house fleet and introduce new vehicles with the latest technology with reduced emissions.

To maximise development of a greener fleet, existing vehicles which are not due for replacement will be considered for conversion to dual fuel. This strategy will also be applied to vehicles already ordered and awaiting delivery such as bin lorries. This also links into the Transportation Strategy Plan for clean transport for the city and presents an improved on-the-road image to the public of Aberdeen.

Where alternative refuelling infrastructure is not currently available but is planned, the fleet service is working with manufacturers to allow for dual fuel (a vehicle can operate on both diesel/hydrogen, or diesel/electric) capability so that the fleet age and environmental footprint remains optimised, with the associated benefits, and the ability to move the fleet onto alternative fuels is maximised.

The fleet services will, wherever feasible, replace existing fleet with vehicles and plant that will dramatically reduce air pollution and will seek to work with manufacturers to see where the Council can extend the use of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles, the report to committee said.

The service is working in collaboration with Finance and other services to maximise the numbers of alternative fuel powered vehicles and plant within the fleet using the current capital budgets and is actively seeking additional external grant funding. Consideration is being given to different ways of funding alternative fuel vehicle replacements.

The Fleet Replacement Programme has a dependency on a developed infrastructure to fully deliver non carbon fuels. Currently, the City Council is considering EV recharging facilities and capacity for future council fleet replacements, which follows from the report to this committee on 3 February 2021 “Electric Vehicle Framework for Aberdeen” COM/21/019. This work will need to be carried out and charging points strategically placed to ensure that all vehicles can be recharged prior to commencement of daily operational activities.

It is intended that a report will be submitted to a future meeting of this committee for further fleet replacements (phase 2 for 2020/21) in conjunction with options for the roll out of a strategical placed EV recharging infrastructure for the council fleet. This programme will be produced in collaboration with service users across the council.

Current procurement processes are being actively supported by the commercial and procurement services team to allow engagement with potential suppliers and negotiate procurement efficiencies where possible. The introduction of new fuel technologies is manifesting in the market as a wider range of purchase options, including variations of traditional contract hire or lease models. The fleet service is actively reviewing these options in conjunction with finance, commercial and procurement services, with a view to identifying potential cost saving opportunities.

The report to committee can be viewed at Fleet Replacement Prog Report.pdf (aberdeencity.gov.uk)