Electric refuse collection vehicles – cleaner, quieter, safer

Electric refuse collection vehicles (eRCVs) are an important step in tackling environmental issues. In 2020, more than 200 local authorities in the UK declared climate emergencies. Part of the strategy for addressing this far-reaching challenge was introducing net zero emissions targets. Since then, many councils have been switching waste fleets to eRCVs with the City of London becoming the first council to implement a fully electric fleet in 2020. 

Cleaner and quieter waste collections

Compared to diesel-powered vehicles, eRCVs are much gentler on the environment. This includes reducing carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution as well as helping to cut operating costs. eRCVs are also far quieter than their noisy diesel-powered counterparts – an important benefit for residents who might ordinarily be disturbed by refuse vehicles operating during the early hours.

However, while eRCVs significantly cut down on noise pollution there are potential safety hazards to consider, particularly for vulnerable road users.

Electrically-powered vehicles are only audible at high speeds and when they travel below 20mph they are almost silent

This poses a huge hazard for other road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and the visually impaired, particularly in built-up areas where eRCVs are likely to be operating at slow speeds.

Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems (AVAS) on electric vehicles are helping to combat this issue. Since 2021, it has been a requirement for every electric vehicle on the road to be retrofitted with devices that can be heard when the vehicle travels at low speeds.

Brigade’s QVS – the solution to creating safer electric vehicles

Our award-winning Quiet Vehicle Sounder (QVS) is designed to warn pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users of approaching silent electric and hybrid vehicles, including eRCVs.

Utilising multi-frequency technology, the QVS creates a highly directional and instantly locatable warning sound at low speeds that emulates the sound of a combustion engine. The sound is only heard in the hazard zone, dissipating quickly, and cutting out at higher speeds to minimise noise pollution.

For further information about Brigade and our range of commercial vehicle safety products, please contact us.