The Australian Capital Territory Government has announced an audacious plan to lease only electric vehicles by 2021, following on from its commitment to using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
Announced yesterday by minister for climate change and sustainability, Shane Rattenbury, and minister for transport and city services, Meegan Fitzharris, the ACT Government will ensure 50 per cent of its fleet passenger vehicles will be zero-emissions by 2019-2020, and 100 per cent won't emit any (local) CO2 by 2021.
"Through this action plan, the ACT Government will cement itself as the national leader in zero emissions vehicles. Tackling climate change means tackling transport pollution, and zero emission vehicle technology is a key part of this,” minister Rattenbury said in a statement.
Beyond the push into zero-emissions fleet vehicles, the Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan 2018-2021 will require all multi-unit or mixed-use developments to have vehicle-charging infrastructure.
It will also allow zero-emissions vehicles to drive in transit lanes until 2023, push for collaboration with local governments for the installation of public charge points on major routes, and calls for incentives to encourage the use of e-bikes (electrically assisted bicycles) in place of cars.
"Zero emissions vehicles cause less air and noise pollution, have lower running costs, don’t incur stamp duty and receive a 20 per cent discount on registration fees. Electric bikes also help make it easier and cheaper for people to get around our city while getting exercise at the same time," said minister Fitzharris.
“By 2020 the ACT will be powered by 100% renewable electricity meaning our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions – at over 60% – will come from transport.
"We welcome the commitment of 100% of the government’s own new passenger vehicle fleet being zero emission vehicles by 2020/21 where fit for purpose. This will send a strong signal to the EV industry to bring more models to market, and provide flow on benefits to consumers," said Behyad Jafari, EV Council CEO.
“Consumers will benefit as well, with the Action Plan providing access to transit lanes which will shorten commute times."
“The Action Plan also rightly targets EV charging infrastructure. Our surveys of consumer attitudes show that availability of charging infrastructure is a major barrier to uptake. Proposed actions include mandating installation of charging infrastructure in all new multi-unit and mixed-use developments and facilitating inter-regional charging installations," he continued.
“The ACT’s continued leadership on this issue is welcomed by the EV industry, and sets the benchmark for other governments to measure themselves against.”
At the moment, the ACT Government fleet includes 17 battery-electric vehicles and seven plug-in hybrids. It's also supporting trials of two battery-electric and one diesel-hybrid bus. Later this year the fleet will be bolstered by 20 hydrogen fuel-cell Hyundai Nexo SUVs as part of the Hornsdale Wind Farm project.
MORE: Electric vehicle news