Located in the city of Sydney, south-west of the CBD, the City of Canterbury Bankstown is home to exotic foods, unique shops and diverse cultures. Now, with a push to go green across the municipality, the City can proudly claim its home to one of the largest EV fleets in Australia too.
Priding itself on being an innovative and sustainable council, Canterbury Bankstown has always been at the forefront of embracing new technologies. That’s why when the opportunity to electrify their vehicle fleet became a real option, the choice to go zero emissions was an easy one.
Warren Mashford, the City of Canterbury Bankstown’s fleet manager has been the overseer of the council’s successful EV transition. We sat down with Warren as he stepped us through their journey to date and what’s next on the horizon, including venturing into EV rubbish trucks.
Warren, undergoing a fleet transition of this scale is not without its challenges. What have been some of the hurdles you’ve encountered and how have you overcome them?
Like any change initiative, our City’s introduction of EVs needed to be robustly planned and managed.
Preparing for and managing staff acceptance was vital in ensuring a successful transition. Fortunately, as a forward-thinking sustainable organisation, staff have always been enthusiastic towards EVs.
Our executive leadership team and elected representatives embraced the program, although some staff had some concerns around vehicle performance, range and the likelihood of breakdowns.
By developing a fit for purpose plan on seemingly minor but crucial details such as the size, power, comfort, safety and battery life of the vehicles, we were able to instil a sense of confidence and strong buy in across the organisation.
In addition to our strong emphasis on change management and communication with stakeholders, we arranged demonstration vehicles, provided training for drivers and held workshops so people would be comfortable and confident in using our EV fleet.
We also knew the role of EVs was far greater than just transitioning to cleaner transport. Making sure our EVs served a purpose and were suited to specific tasks encouraged more users. For example, we converted some hatchbacks into a panel van by removing seats. This meant they could be used as a commercial vehicle for our surveyors and their equipment.