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Milk float gets new life as pint-sized electric street washer

An old milk float in poor condition and destined for scrappage has been given a new lease of life as part of ODS’ growing electric vehicle fleet.

The milk float, which was bought by ODS, has been converted to carry out street cleaning tasks within the city centre, including street washing, gum removal and graffiti cleaning.  

Due to the weight of the equipment required for these services, a vehicle of at least 3.5 tonnes, such as an electric van, is usually needed to carry out street cleaning tasks.

However, the milk float was identified as an alternative solution which will allow ODS to continue to carry out street cleaning services in the Zero Emission Zone pilot, while also repurposing a vehicle which was otherwise going to scrappage. 

ODS has upgraded the vehicle, which is now branded in the ODS livery, and has been able to use the product storage space at the back of the float to install a washer and water tank.

By converting a second-hand milk float in to a vehicle they needed, the Council has saved £27,000.

The vehicle, which has a range of approximately to 60-80 miles, can be charged at ODS’ depot in eight hours.

Electrifying ODS’ fleet

ODS is Oxford City Council’s wholly owned company, and is responsible for delivering all of the Council’s statutory services currently provided to residents and businesses.

ODS has a target to make at least 25% of its fleet electric by 2023, and currently has 66 electric vehicles in its 344 vehicle fleet, including cars, small to medium vans and tippers, as well as specialist park vehicles, a sweeper, a digger and a refuse collection vehicle.

ODS also provides commercial street cleansing services to a range of private sector clients including private estates, industrial parks, events, universities and sports facilities.

Oxford City Council has an ambition to become a Zero Carbon Council by 2030, and decarbonising its fleet vehicles is key to achieving this.

Tackling Oxford’s air pollution

Transport currently account for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in Oxford.

Earlier this year, Oxford City Council, in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, introduced Britain’s first Zero Emission Zone pilot in key city centre streets.

Under the pilot scheme, all petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, will incur a daily charge unless eligible for a discount or exemption. However, zero emission vehicles, such as electric cars, can enter the pilot area free of charge.

Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for Health and Transport, said:

“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!”

Owain Pearce, Transport Manager, ODS, said:

“ODS is at the forefront of the green vehicle revolution and is a pioneer for green fleets, having operated electric vehicles for well over a decade."

"We have repurposed an old, disused milk float to an electric powered street cleaning, gum removal and street furniture washing vehicle, which highlights our commitment as a ‘doing good’ company to reduce our impact on the environment. This helps us to support Oxford City Council’s emission policies and action on climate change by improving air quality across the City.”