Bedford Borough Council opts for electric sweepers from Aebi Schmidt to help meet green targets

Bedford Borough Council has switched from diesel to electric power to help cut its carbon footprint with four new eSwingo compact sweepers from Aebi Schmidt.

The all-electric, silent-operating eSwingos replace four existing diesel models on a like-for-like basis and operate within the town centres of Bedford and Kempston, three miles away.

The Council has also purchased three truck-mounted Street King 660 sweepers, two on 16-tonne DAF LF chassis and one on a Volvo 16-tonne FL 4×2 chassis, plus a Flexigo 150 compact sweeper, to complete an all-Schmidt sweeper line-up.

All the sweepers were acquired through The Procurement Partnerships Framework, and Bedford Borough Council took advantage of a direct award via the existing Hertfordshire County Council TPPL framework, which gave Schmidt sweepers the highest rating in their class.

The Council operates the eSwingos on a single eight-hour shift from Monday to Thursday and for 6.5 hours on Friday in both Bedford and Kempston. There is a shorter four-hour shift in the town centres at the weekend, and the eSwingos are charged overnight at the Council’s main Brunel Road depot.

Meanwhile, the truck-mounted SK660s sweep the towns of Bedford and Kempston, plus 51 outlying villages on a 12-week cycle, sweeping all available channels.

The Flexigo 150, which has articulated steering, permanent four-wheel drive and is fitted with a scrub deck, carries out washing and scrubbing duties in Bedford town centre and outlying industrial estates as required.

Tony Bowers, Team Leader Fleet and Engineering at Bedford Borough Council, who is responsible for a 200-plus vehicle fleet, plus assorted plant and equipment, said: “We trialled the eSwingo several times with and against other vehicles as we were looking to source sweepers that were in line with our ambition to reduce our carbon footprint.

‘After testing several different makes of sweeper, we opted for the eSwingo because it is very quiet so ideal for the town centre and is easily able to carry out a shift on a single charge. Our operators were familiar with the previous diesel Swingo and like the performance and the almost noiseless operation of the all-electric version.’

Bedford Borough Council was also looking to replace its ageing truck-mounted sweepers and opted for three SK660s from Aebi Schmidt, again after carrying out several trials with competitors.

‘In our trials, the SK660s performed very well; they were available in stock, and we had buy-in from our drivers and operators who were impressed by the performance.

‘We made some additions to the standard specification, including the wander hose, which is very useful for tackling inaccessible areas where the main sweeper body can’t reach, and a light board with warning lights when operating,’ he said.

Matthew Elderkin, Aebi Schmidt Area Sales Manager, responsible for the relationship with Bedford Borough Councill, said: ‘We were delighted to meet Bedford’s need for a new sweeper fleet to tackle the various tasks they face throughout the borough.

‘The all-electric eSwingo can play a crucial role in helping any local authority meet its climate commitment, as it offers not only the cleanest possible emissions and noiseless operation but we back it with an all-inclusive package covering service, maintenance and performance needs.

‘With excellent sweeping power and near-silent, carbon-free operation, the eSwingo can be deployed at night or in the early morning hours in built-up areas without disturbing the residents, ideal for local authorities operating in tight, urban locations like town centres.

‘At the same time, the Street King 660 boasts a stunning array of special features and stand-out USPs designed to give faster working times and lower operating costs. And we’ve recently introduced a series of upgrades designed to make further improvements which, in many cases, have been in response to customer requests and operator feedback,’ he said.