An all-electric garbage truck manufactured by Chinese vehicle maker BYD was first launched recently in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
The eT8A model, which will collect and compact organic waste at Cadeg, a local large market, is poised to promote electric vehicles in the South American country.
"Clean Ambiental is responsible for waste collection from Rio de Janeiro's biggest generators of garbage, and we partnered with BYD in an environmental sense, through the electric truck with renewable energy," said Jose Eduardo Almeida, director of the waste management company, in an interview with Xinhua.
"The idea of using the truck arose from an invitation I received to see the truck at BYD's factory. I returned to Rio de Janeiro with a contract almost signed, because I thought this solution was fantastic for Brazil and for the future, a future that cannot be anything other than this -- the use of sustainable energy," Almeida recalled.
Buying the truck started a chain reaction of environmental measures at Clean Ambiental, which began to look for ecological ways to produce the energy the truck needed to operate.
Eventually, "the opportunity arose to make biogas with our waste, and to convert the biogas into energy," he said.
Clean Ambiental is negotiating with BYD "to acquire another 10 electric vehicles" as part of a plan to replace the current fleet of some 60 diesel trucks, he said.
"Clean Ambiental, as a partner, introduced us to BYD and told us they would bring the first electric truck to the state. I told them I wanted to see it, and I drove it ... and it's incredible," Macelo Pena, CEO of Cadeg, said.
"Cadeg will join BYD's cause, and will be an effective partner in helping to promote it. We are installing two charging stations for electric cars and trucks," he added.
Cadeg is now considering acquiring an electric bus "to bring tourists (or) offer schools tours of the facility and showcase the environmental advances adopted," Pena said.
"We want to work a little further afield, to promote our example for the city and state of Rio de Janeiro. Cadeg is one of the biggest municipal markets in the world, and we want it to be the most ecological market in the world," Pena said.
Carlos Roma, BYD's marketing manager in Brazil, believes the novel truck represents an initial step for Brazilians to approach electric vehicles, saying "using heavy electric trucks in sanitation, mining or construction lets people get used to electric vehicles, and then they will automatically want to use them in passenger vehicles."
While electric trucks cost "four or five times more than a diesel truck," they have benefits in the long run, he said. "Purchasing one is more expensive, but operating one is cheaper" due to savings in fuel and maintenance costs.
Clean Ambiente's 21-ton truck -- which has a recyclable lithium-iron phosphate battery and a 30-year lifespan -- can run eight to ten hours on a single charge that takes about two hours. It is expected to cut down on some 14 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a month on its daily 3-km route between Cadeg and a waste-processing plant in Caju, a district in northern Rio de Janeiro.