Ocala is one of the first cities in Florida poised to clean up its garbage pickup, replacing diesel-powered sanitation trucks with zero-emission electric-powered vehicles. On Oct. 6, the Ocala City Council voted unanimously to move forward with the project and purchase three of the new vehicles in 2021 and two more in 2022.
“I am not sure, but I have heard we are the first municipality in Florida to start using these trucks,” said John King, Ocala’s fleet management director. The city will buy the trucks using a $777,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, supplemented with nearly $2 million from sanitation reserve funds.
The five new trucks will replace side-hauling garbage trucks powered by heavy-duty diesel engines, said Tami Haslam, the city’s budget director. King said the new trucks will replace older diesel trucks on urban garbage routes. BYD, a Chineses-based company with headquarters in Los Angeles, will make the vehicles. “This is a pilot program. We want to see what our actual savings are and then decide if we are going to extend the program,” he said.