Vehicle technicians at City of Wolverhampton Council are among the first in the UK to complete a new training scheme aimed at creating a cleaner, greener environment.

The council currently has a plan in place to electrify its entire fleet and it has invested in the new training to make sure all of its full time vehicle technicians are qualified to maintain the vehicles for the future.

Provided by the City of Wolverhampton College and part funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority, the training also makes sure that any maintenance to hybrid and fully electric vehicles can be carried out in house.

Currently only around 3 to 5% of technicians in the UK receive training on electric vehicles. By supporting the new scheme, the council is making sure its staff are well ahead.

The Government is currently looking to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 and City of Wolverhampton Council has pledged to become net carbon neutral by 2028. The increased use of electric vehicles will support both of these targets.

The council currently has around 450 vehicles in its fleet, which are responsible for emitting 2,500 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide into the environment each year. 

This is around 25% of the council’s total emissions, prompting the authority to urgently put a programme in place to electrify its fleet. This is being carried out alongside its partner organisation Wolverhampton Homes which also operates a fleet of vehicles supplied by the council. 

As part of its fleet electrification programme, the council has recently replaced 9 of its old Meals on Wheels diesel delivery vehicles with zero emission electric vans.

In addition, 2 electric vans are being used by the council’s parking services team, 3 are being used by Wolverhampton Homes, 1 is used for our new Podback coffee pod recycling service and 2 electric people carriers have gone into service to support Children Services.

The council has also installed 4 electric charging points at Culwell Street Depot as part of the first phase of a charge point roll out to support electrification of the fleet. 

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: “The council and Wolverhampton Homes needs vehicles to be able to deliver a wide range of essential services to the public, but at the moment they are polluting the atmosphere with 2,500 tonnes of carbon every year. 

“As we work towards becoming net carbon neutral by 2028, we will be replacing our polluting diesel vehicles with electric ones; but that’s not the end of the story.

“We need our staff trained and qualified in repairing and maintaining the new additions to the fleet. With so many services dependent on these vehicles, it is extremely important to train our staff to enable us to provide the best service possible for our residents.

“We have come a long way in a short space of time, but there is still a lot of work to be done. But the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm of our staff will allow us to literally drive forward our green agenda.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, said: “In pursuit of our #WM2041 net zero commitment, we’re all coming together right across our region to deliver practical change to help tackle the climate emergency and usher in the Green Industrial Revolution. From decarbonised transport and energy system solutions to state of the art battery technology and zero carbon building techniques, we’re seeing action not just words. 

“The efforts being made by Wolverhampton Council in line with their pledge to become a carbon neutral city by 2028 are laudable and represent an important part of the journey the entire West Midlands is on. I congratulate them on their investment in skills training to maintain the electric vehicles of the future.

“Ensuring that the local automotive industry adapts to meet modern needs will not only help safeguard our environment - it will also support the creation of the high tech skills and jobs our local residents need to thrive in the 21st century.”