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Milk float conversion to an electric cleansing vehicle

Project: Milk float conversion

Department: Motor Transports and Highways

Date of completion: April 2022

Budget: £27,000 in savings


We needed to acquire a cleansing vehicle that could be used in the city centre’s new zero emission zone to carry out tasks including street cleansing, gum removal and graffiti cleaning. We purchased and converted a milk float, due for scrappage, and repurposed it into an electric street cleansing vehicle.

Transport currently accounts for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in Oxford. To help reduce our carbon footprint, we have a target to electrify 25% of our fleet by next year. By converting this vehicle, it was a way to help us take a step closer to our goal.


It was a challenge finding a suitable vehicle that could house a jet wash which wasn’t cost prohibitive that could be used in the zero emission zone to carry out efficient street cleansing functions in a safe manner. Due to the weight of the equipment required for cleansing services, we needed a vehicle of at least 3.5 tonnes.


The milk float was identified as an alternative solution due to its capabilities and price - a new electric vehicle that could house a jet wash was double the price. It was repurposed to our needs in various ways to make it suitable for its required use as large a street cleansing vehicle. It was refitted in house by one of our Vehicle Technicians with new fittings and cleaning devices that were seamlessly integrated on the back of the milk float in the storage space previously designated for milk bottles!


“It’s great to see ODS expanding their fleet and repurposing vehicles to meet their needs."

“By adapting this former milk float we are reducing the Council’s and ODS’ carbon footprint. This recycled vehicle can operate in the Zero Emission Zone the Council introduced earlier this year and it will have a new lease of life keeping the streets of Oxford clean. We are putting the three ‘R’s into practice - reduce, re-use, recycle!”

Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for Health and Transport