As the NSW state election nears, the incumbent party announces its own EV infrastructure and fleet plans to counter the opposition's promises.
The New South Wales Government has announced a major election promise today, confirming a not insignificant investment in its electric vehicle fleets and the state's growing EV charging network.
If successful in the March 23 election, the NSW Liberal party claims its Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan will include a $3 million co-investment in fast charging points on major regional corridors, along with $2 million on chargers in commuter car parks.
The announcement comes as just the latest in a growing number of commitments at the federal, state and territory level across Australia, adding to the green fleet and charging programs that local councils have been rolling out for some time now.
In 2018, the Victorian Government announced a $3 million regional charging station plan, which followed news that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) would partner with the Chargefox network on a $15 million fast-charging network of 21 stations in locations around the country.
“More people are embracing electric and hybrid vehicles and we need to do our part to ensure we have the infrastructure in place so that people are confident to use these vehicles right across the state,” NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, said today.
“That’s why we’re planning fast charging points for major regional corridors including the Newell, Great Western, New England, Pacific and Princes Highways and the Hume Motorway.”
The program has yet to announce a partner for charger supply and installation, confirming only that it will soon be sounding out the market "to ensure we get the best value for money".
Above: While sites have still to be confirmed, the NSW Government has confirmed its areas of focus.
A greener fleet and electric buses
The NSW Government also announced today that it will aim to have at least 10 per cent of its vehicle fleet made up of EVs from 2020, while even sooner, four electric buses will begin operating in Sydney's Inner West from July 2019 on a two-year trial.
Commenting on the announcement, Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said: "These are some good first steps in the right direction."
"This announcement is an affirmation from the government that a mass move toward electric vehicles is coming and the EVC is getting on with the job of making sure it happens here sooner rather than later," he added.
If it goes the other way...
Newspoll data and reports in recent months suggest the March election for the leadership of NSW may go to the opposition, which could bring even bigger wins for proponents of the electric vehicle movement.
Getting in earlier on its election promises, the NSW Labor party promised last month that it would aim for its fleet to be 25 per cent electric by 2025 – a more distant target, but with a more specifically higher proportion of EVs on the roster.
The state opposition has also committed $10 million over three years to electric vehicle infrastructure, along with promising reforms to planning requirements on residential apartment blocks, and a $1 million spend on an awareness campaign around the benefits of EV technology.