The public has spoken: San Diego’s new electric mini street sweeper will be called ‘Sweep-E’

An electric mini street sweeper sits in a parking lot.
San Diego’s new electric mini street sweeper will be called Sweep-E based on the results of a naming contest.
(City of San Diego)

More than 1,000 votes were cast in the city’s naming contest. T.E.S.S. lost by only 11 votes.


San Diego’s new quieter and more environmentally friendly mini street sweeper was given the name Sweep-E Wednesday based on the results of an online naming contest.

More than 1,000 votes were cast among three names that were finalists: Sweep-E, T.E.S.S. (The Electric Street Sweeper) and The Blue Broomba. Sweep-E beat T.E.S.S. by only 11 votes.

“SWEEP-E will be working hard to keep our streets clean and our waterways healthy for years to come,” said Bethany Bezak, interim director of the city’s Stormwater Department. “We look forward to seeing the sweeper in action this week tidying up Balboa Park before hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive for December Nights.”

Sweep-E has an ocean-themed appearance to highlight how street sweeping helps prevent ocean pollution, improve water quality and protect marine wildlife.

The electric mini sweeper produces zero emissions, and its electric motor produces less noise than a regular street sweeper. This allows operators to work early in the morning and late at night without disturbing residents.

Because the sweeper is narrower than the city’s other sweepers, it’s more effective at picking out trash and debris from narrow spaces such as bike lanes, city officials said.

It’s the only one of its kind in the city fleet of 20 sweepers, which routinely cover the city’s 2,700 miles of streets and remove 220,000 pounds of trash and debris.

“Street sweeping is an essential service when it comes to keeping trash and debris out of the ocean, and SWEEP-E will be a real-world embodiment of that message as it travels our city making our neighborhoods clean and safe,” Councilmember Stephen Whitburn said Wednesday after the new name was announced at a downtown news conference.

The new sweeper is narrower, so more effective at picking out trash and debris from narrow spaces like bike lanes

Nov. 15, 2022

City officials announced this fall plans to raise the cost of a street-sweeping citation from $52.50 to $68 and to revamp street-sweeping routes following a study that showed the system could be more efficient.

The proposal, which would boost revenue by $5 million, is part of a broader campaign to boost funding to reduce pollution in local waterways.

Oct. 20, 2022

The city also recently revamped its street-sweeping program to reduce service in some neighborhoods and require new parking restrictions in areas where streets will be swept more often.

The city is reducing the frequency of sweeps on routes where relatively little trash is collected, and routes where relatively large amounts of trash are collected will be swept more often.