At the start of October, Van der Velden, a sewer management company with divisions across The Netherlands, took delivery of a fleet of all-electric drainage vehicles, marking the first of its kind worldwide.
The fleet comprises three new Mercedes eVito electric vans, all installed with eCityJet jetting machines powered by a bank of lithium-ion batteries, to create a 100% carbon-neutral solution. The use of the three vehicles will save over 100,000 litres of diesel and mean the firm reduce emissions by almost 300 tonnes, according to Rioned.
Henk F. Verschoor, equipment service manager at Van der Velden, said: “We are convinced driving electric vehicles will become the norm in the Netherlands. As a small country, it will be no problem using electric vehicles, as long as their range is over 300 kilometres.”
The new eVito vans have an average range of 220 miles on a single charge, with the jetter units capable of completing up to 10 cleaning and unblocking jobs without the need to recharge. The eCityJet has all the features of a conventional diesel-driven van-pack machine and, even with six 5 kWh lithium-ion batteries on board, is only marginally heavier at 690kg (dry weight).
Celestino Lopes Ramos da Cruz, an experienced service engineer with Van de Velden, has been using the new units daily and sees no difference in the performance and ease of use: “There are no drawbacks to this version of the eCityJet compared with my previous diesel van and machine,” he explains.
“The van and machine are 100% electric and almost completely silent. This makes it more comfortable to work in the evening because I don't feel weighed down by the noise the jetter normally makes.”
“The biggest difference is that I start my day at the charging station, which is pretty close to my house. From there I drive from one job to another. The workday also ends at the charging station, so the van is completely charged when I go back to work the next day.”
Van der Velden played an important role in the development and testing of the eCityJet. For Verschoor, working closely with Rioned on the all-electric prototype heavily influenced the decision to commission the fleet. “Testing the eCityJet was very important,” he explains. “And also very exciting because the results told us it was possible to realise our dream. Sharing information has led us to improve our business and take a giant step towards making it more sustainable.”
“At first, we were not really impressed by the eVito’s range, but we are happy to say this has been improved a lot since the test period. We can now serve all our customers, and also those in the city centres, without noise or odour nuisance.”