Electric Vehicles

South Australia leads the way with electric vehicles

The South Australian Government’s Electric Vehicle Action Plan (6th November 2020) is leading example of the progress government can make and will help drive the state into an exciting zero-emission future. The State Liberal Government recently announced the launch of the Electric Vehicle Action Plan. $18 million is allocated in 10th November budget to fast-start the uptake of electric vehicles. Its aim is to make electric vehicles the “common choice” for new passenger vehicles by 2030, and the “default choice” by 2035. Read more here

“The great thing about focusing on the growth of a green vehicle fleet in Australia is that it really utilises or makes use of the extraordinary skills base we still have in this nation following the close of the automotive industry,”

Prof John Spoehr, the director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute, Flinders University

Currently Available Options

The Good Car Company: Tasmanian-based start-up (https://goodcar.co/ ). The founders took inspiration from New Zealand, where a thriving second-hand car market has brought down prices significantly even if the quality of imported vehicles has sometimes been mixed.

ACE EV: In 2021, ACE EV (https://www.ace-ev.com.au/) will be launching a unique range of electric cars and light commercial vehicles; ACE Cargo, ACE Yewt and ACE Urban. Their cars are manufactured in Adelaide.

Possible Actions by Colac Otway Shire Council

  • Buy or lease electric vehicles (EV) as soon as the economics of doing so even come close to equivalent to internal combustion engines (ICE). Initially passenger vehicles but later include trucks, graders etc. Initial purchase costs may be higher but fuel costs and maintenance will be lower and resale higher.
  • Install correspondingly needed recharge points.
  • Apply a 5% rate reduction for households with electric vehicles.

Transport is the fastest growing source of CO2  emissions in Australia and a council that is serious about cutting its emissions, should consider changing much of its fleet to EV’s. This action addresses Operational emissions from council owned vehicles and Community emissions such as those generated within the shire such as bus transport, collecting waste and private vehicles. The Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Petition called on the council to commit to zero net emissions from community sources by 2030.

In March 2019 ClimateWorks Australia, Monash University and Myer Foundation in partnership with the Electric Vehicle Council and the Municipal Association of Victoria explored ways to assist councils to increase EV purchase in local government fleets. Their report, Electric Vehicle Ready Local Government Fleets details a project between August 2018 and January 2019, involving 18 councils that compared the total cost of ownership (TCO) for EV’s compared to ICE’s. Total cost includes purchase price, fuel costs, resale value, maintenance and tyres. It was found that EV’s driven for 20,000 km per year for 6 years with electricity costing 15c per kWh were in the main comparable. For example a small hatchback’s current costs were $0.29 – $0.43 per km, whilst a Renault Zoe cost $0.31 per km.

Council data (TCO $/km)$0.29 – $0.43$0.29 – $0.62$0.46 – $ 0.61$0.35 -$0.68$0.35- $0.65$0.50- $1.12
Hyundai $0.42 (Ioniq PHEV) $).31 (Ioniq BEV)$0.34 (Kona) $0.38 (Kangoo Z.E.) 
SEA    $0.23 (E4V)$0.23 (E4B)
Mitsubishi  $0.45 (Outlander PHEV)   
Tesla $0.86 (Tesla model S Dual Motor)$0.94 (Tesla Model S 5 seat Dual Motor)   

Source: ClimateWorks March 2019. http://www.climateworksaustralia.org

EV’s have lower servicing costs, lower fuel costs and can be used for longer than the three years that ICE vehicles are subject to, before being replaced. They are highly sought after for resale by the general public and the manufacturers expected the hatchbacks to sell for 20- 30 % of their original price, whilst the SEA van would only lose 21% of its value after 6 years. Melbourne City Council currently has nine Nissan Leaf which have travelled 300,000kms in 8 years, so reliable have they been. The council hopes to change its entire fleet of 78 vehicles to electric in the near future. (Renew magazine issue 148. EV Expo Fleet Talks Sasha Shtargot).

The use of EV’s is not restricted to passenger vehicles. In NSW, Premier Transport Group in Nowra have finished a trial using Yutong electric buses, which travelled 290km per day over 15 hours with a 45% charge left in the battery. The daily costs were 72% less than a diesel bus. (Bit.ly/TABN-EBT) Colac’s city bus route would seem to be ideal for this application.

The City of Casey in Melbourne’s east is currently trialling use of 3 garbage trucks via its waste management contractor WM Waste Management. 180kg of carbon will be saved on each trip in comparison to a diesel truck. The trucks can run for 120kms before needing to recharge. Hobson’s Bay City in Melbourne via their contractor Cleanaway, have been operating 3 garbage trucks since May 2019. The benefits of these trucks which can travel 180kms have been zero emissions, silent operation and regenerative braking. (Bit.ly/CA-ETT). The council saves on a lower tender price, because fuelling and maintenance costs are lower.

The ClimateWorks report also addressed the need for increasing the number of public charging stations. They recommend it could be part of a national capacity building program, led by an independent or state government body to enable cooperation between councils for the best locations, to ensure extending the range these vehicles could travel. The authors envisaged a future where guidelines could be developed to help councils to transition their fleets simply. The provision of charging stations would attract local ownership of EV’s and could be included by the council when reporting on the target of zero net emissions in the community by 2030.

Melbourne City council paid Jet Charge to put in three charging stations in half a day. They report it was not an expensive exercise. Locally there are charging stations in Colac, e.g.  in the Coles car park.

A reduction of 5% in rates by the council of EV owners would be acknowledgement that the greater number of EV’s, the quicker we will meet our zero net targets and would encourage local ownership increasing the domestic supply of EV’s.

An electric vehicle that is powered by 100% renewable energy or green power is carbon neutral. An ICE with a fuel efficiency of 8 l/km ie the hatchback = 21 tons of CO2 emissions over 120,000km or the minivan 26 tons of CO2. (ClimateWorks[M1]  ) The more vehicles we can replace with electric, the easier it will be for our shire to meet its zero net targets. Climate Works continues to advocate on behalf of councils and has included the total cost of ownership calculator on the Municipal Association of Victoria website for councils to use when procuring vehicles. 

Replacing internal combustion engines with electric vehicles looks to be an exciting, obtainable way to reduce emissions and represents the low hanging fruit that we get excited about; a big reduction in emissions for little pain.

Promoting and adopting policies encouraging Electric Vehicle will align with these Council plans; Colac 2050 Citizen Jury Report (2020), Environment Strategy 2010-2018, 2013 Roadmap for a Carbon Neutral Plan, Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2017- 2027, 2017-2021 Council Strategic Plan