Members of Teignbridge Council have voted to replace all but the biggest diesel lorries in their fleet with battery-powered alternatives.
The move is part of a district-wide drive towards cutting carbon.
Members of the full council meeting also decided to research the use of used cooking oil to power big vehicles such as bin lorries in the future instead of diesel.
The majority of the council’s fleet of leased vehicles comes up for renewal next year, and a report to the meeting revealed that the vehicle fleet currently accounts for around half of the council’s carbon footprint.
Its fleet includes 56 heavy lorries and 45 vans.
Cllr Charles Nuttall (Lib Dem, Kenn Valley) described the move as a ‘giant leap’ for Teignbridge, with all of its small, medium and large vans going battery-powered while bigger lorries keep diesel power for the time being.
He said orders for the new vehicles needed to be placed quickly.
However, Cllr Andrew MacGregor (SD Alliance Independent, Bishopsteignton) said more research was needed before committing to biofuel for the larger vehicles in future.
‘We have to be careful what we wish for,’ he said. ‘Using this vegetable oil for fuel means that we are losing farming land for food production.
‘We need to have a much more in-depth study available to us.’
And Cllr Kevin Lake (Con, Kenn Valley) said there were ‘counter arguments’ to the use of electric vehicles.
‘An electric vehicle costs four times the amount of carbon to produce than a conventional vehicle,’ he added.
Liberal Democrat council leader Martin Wrigley (Dawlish North East) summed up: ‘This is not an easy decision to make.
‘No options are perfect, or satisfy every demand. It’s about finding the right balance.’