Colac Otway Shire council trials EVs

Colac Otway Shire Council
Fire awareness officer Tristian Crews and acting environment project support officer Liza Kennedy

Colac Otway Shire Council officers will be test driving a new electric vehicle this week as part of a project aimed at increasing the uptake of the low emissions vehicles in local government fleets.

As part of the trial, a new Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid will be used for official council duties from November 14 to 22. Information about the vehicle’s performance and staff experiences will be collected during the trial.

A charging station located in the council depot will be used to recharge the vehicle each night.

The Shire is one of 32 Victorian Councils taking part in the project to improve knowledge and understanding of electric vehicles as an alternative to petrol/diesel cars used in government fleets.

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The project is a partnership between the Electric Vehicle Council, the Municipal Association of Victoria and ClimateWorks Australia. It is being funded by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Colac Otway Shire Council CEO Peter Brown said the trial of the electric vehicle could be important in helping the council reach its carbon neutral target by 2020.

“Currently, transport accounts for 34 per cent of council emissions. Electric vehicles could help us meet our emissions goals faster as well as reduce operational and maintenance costs,” Mr Brown said.

“This trial will give us a better understanding of how electric vehicles can be used effectively in delivering council services and what economic and environmental benefits can be achieved.

“We’re mindful regional councils face some challenges relating to the use of electric vehicles, the sizeable distance between towns being one. It will be useful to see how the hybrid vehicle performs in Colac Otway Shire.”

The Electric Vehicle Council Chair Behyad Jafari said electric vehicle sales in government fleets was still at very low levels in Australia.

Related article: Hundreds of EV jobs for Latrobe Valley

“Business continues to be the largest buyer of electric vehicles accounting for 63 per cent of sales in 2017 compared with only three per cent of sales in government fleets,” he said.

“The low level of government sales is really a missed opportunity, especially as electric vehicles continue to come down in price and are able to travel longer distances.

“Governments at all levels could use their greater purchasing power to encourage a broader uptake of electric vehicles in their fleets.”

ClimateWorks Australia project officer, Claire Connell said local government could play an important role in helping reduce emissions from the transport sector.

“In 2017, local governments across Australia purchased more than 9000 light vehicles. By taking a leadership position on this issue, local government can reduce the emissions intensity of their own fleets and help break down barriers to the wider adoption of electric vehicles.”

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