First New Zealand-made electric rubbish trucks about to hit Palmerston North

The first New Zealand-made electric trucks are about to hit the streets of Palmerston North.

The city council has bought two trucks for rubbish and recycling collection, marking the start of the council's plan to convert its entire vehicle fleet to electric.  

"These are the first that are fully constructed in New Zealand. Usually up till now they've been conversions from existing diesel trucks," Paul Compton, Palmerston North City Council logistics and support manager, told Newshub.

The recycling and rubbish trucks replace two old diesel ones and will prevent 30 tonnes of carbon from being released into our air every year - about the same impact as taking eight cars off the road.

They can travel surprisingly far on one charge, around 160 to 180 kilometres.

The two trucks cost $736,000, which is about the same as the old diesel ones over seven years. Just under half that price was covered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), which has cash grants to give new projects like this.

CEO Andrew Caseley said New Zealand is headed for a major rush toward electric in about five years' time. Currently there are just under 10,000 electric vehicles on our roads.

"I believe that the growth will be exponential. It will look almost vertical," he told Newshub.

It's pretty steep already, with the number on our roads doubled in the last year.