City of York Council, as part of its fleet electrification strategy, spent £8m on 39 new electric vehicles, including two electric waste vehicles, but has been accused of hiding them due to lack of charging infrastructure to support the fleet.
A whistleblower released photos of the 25 new electric bin wagons, which feature the council’s branding, sitting unused at Harewood Whin, a former landfill site.
Cllr Mark Warters described the situation as an “embarrassing and expensive fiasco” after sharing pictures of the EVs.
A council spokesperson said that the EVs that were not currently being used and were “either in the process of being deployed or are awaiting fitting with racking for Building Services trades”.
What’s more, they pointed to vehicle delays being the result of difficulties with supply chains, but admitted that the necessary charging infrastructure had not yet been installed.
The spokesperson said: “If we waited for the infrastructure before ordering the vehicles then we would be waiting around a year for vehicles to arrive, such is the lead in time for EV commercial vehicles.
“That’s why we took the decision to order so they were ready to deploy as soon as possible.
“Those that are being used are being charged either at the depot or at Hyperhubs and public charging points.
“There are more chargers to go into the depot and this work is underway.
“This work is behind schedule, partly due to a power outage and the associated works with dealing with finding existing cables at the depot which were not in ducting as indicated on the plans.
“I would also note that there is no cost for the storage at Harewood Whin, we have agreed a no cost storage deal with Yorwaste.”
Warters was critical of the council for this decision and accused the local authority of using taxpayers’ money to store the non-operational vehicles, which the council has denied.
The spokesperson pointed to inflation as the motivation for buying the EVs, claiming the cost to the council would have increased if it had delayed the purchase.