New Government plan to spark growth in electric vehicles

Ian Bushnell 29 March 2021 21

The road ahead: The ACT Government is preparing the way for zero emissions driving. Photos: Supplied.

All new multi-unit and mixed use developments in the ACT will be required to install vehicle charge points and all newly leased Government vehicles will be emissions free from 2020-21 as part of a suite of measures designed to drive the Territory’s transition to electric vehicles and bikes announced today (Monday).

The Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan 2018-2021, announced by Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury and Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris, also includes working with local and state governments on the installation of charging stations on major routes to and from Canberra, including those to Sydney and coastal areas.

READ ALSO: The best places to buy electric cars in Canberra

Under the plan, owners of zero emission vehicles, who already enjoy certain benefits, will be able to drive in transit lanes, from later in 2018 until 2023.

The Government will also investigate incentives to encourage the use of electric bikes in place of cars.

The Parking and Vehicle Access General Code will be amended to require all new multi-unit and mixed use developments to have charge points.

At least 50 per cent of all newly leased ACT Government fleet passenger vehicles will be zero emission vehicles in 2019-20 (where fit for purpose) and from 2020-21 all newly leased ACT Government passenger fleet vehicles will be zero emission vehicles (where fit for purpose).

The Government will also assess whether the installation of covered car parks with solar powered vehicle charging stations is feasible.

Parking and traffic regulations will be reviewed to ensure that priorities offered to zero emission vehicles can be enforced, and to provide specific zero emission vehicle number plates for easy identification and enforcement of zero emission vehicle related regulations such as ensuring only zero emission vehicles park and charge in allocated charging spaces.

Part of the ACT Government e-bike fleet.

The Government will look at incentives to encourage the use of electric bikes such as more secure bike parking and more bike charging stations, as well as amending tax arrangements to allow ACT Government staff to salary sacrifice for an electric bike.

It will also investigate the potential use of electric vehicle batteries to support the electricity grid at times of peak demand, and support new and innovative businesses in the zero emissions vehicles sector to maximise job creation and economic development in the ACT.

Mr Rattenbury said the Action Plan would further enhance the ACT Government’s reputation as a world leader in sustainability by encouraging the use of electric vehicles and e-bikes.

“Electric vehicle ownership in Canberra has many benefits including less air and noise pollution, lower running costs, zero stamp duty and 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,” he said.

“By 2020 the ACT will be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity, meaning our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions – at over 60 per cent– will be transport.”

The Ministers said the Action Plan would help ensure the ACT was at the forefront of encouraging electric vehicle uptake.

“We already have generous financial incentives for the purchase and registration of zero emission vehicles, we’re undertaking a trial of two battery electric buses and a hybrid bus running on diesel, we have an e-bike fleet for ACT public servants to use and we’re facilitating installation of charging points across the city,” they said.

“This Action Plan will feed into the ACT’s next transport and climate change strategies and ensure we are well placed in the increasing global shift to zero emissions vehicles.”

The Electric Vehicle Council of Australia welcomed the ACT’s continued leadership on delivering policy to support the transition to electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said the plan would support Australia’s emerging EV industry, provide greater access to electric vehicles for ACT residents, and set the groundwork for greater adoption into the future.

Mr Jafari said the ACT had built on its existing policy, and was leading by example.

“The ACT is already leading the Australian market in terms of per capita uptake rates of electric vehicles and deployment of charging infrastructure. This is driven by their existing stamp duty exemption and registration discounts for zero emission vehicles. The Action Plan released today will see the ACT cement their position as policy leaders on electric vehicles in Australia,” he said.

“The uptake of electric vehicles in the ACT is not only required to deliver on the territory’s emission reduction targets, but it will also reduce the cost of transportation for residents. The uptake of electric vehicles also presents great opportunities for the development of new businesses and jobs in Australia.

“The ACT is now at the forefront of supportive policy environments for the electric vehicle industry in Australia.”

The NRMA, which has been advocating the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia, also welcomed the plan.

NRMA local Director Kate Lundy said the ACT Government had launched the most comprehensive action plan by any government in Australia to date.

“There is a global transition towards this technology and Australia is not immune. However, until now governments have failed to grasp the significance of these changes and properly prepare Australia so that we can reap the economic, environmental and societal benefits of an electric vehicle future,” Ms Lundy said.

The NRMA has committed $10 million to building Australia’s largest fast-charging network to support the electrification of the transport sector in NSW and the ACT.

The Action Plan says that in 2017, the United Kingdom and France announced their intention to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, with all cars to be fully electric. Scotland, India, China, Norway and the Netherlands have followed suit.

It says car manufacturers are also making the shift to zero emissions vehicles, with all Volvo cars to be electric or hybrid from 2019 and General Motors announcing an intention to phase out petrol and diesel powered vehicles for an ‘all-electric future’.

Zero emission vehicles do not emit any greenhouse gas emissions, and includes plug-in hybrid electric, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric cars, as well as electric bikes.

The existing network of public charging points across the ACT and region can be found on the website

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21 Responses to New Government plan to spark growth in electric vehicles
Maya123 Maya123 7:08 pm 19 Apr 18

Long distant driving (say to Darwin) will be ‘so’ practical in an electric car. Waiting for several hours for the car to charge to do the next few kms. And are there charging station en route yet? Fine around the city, but when the car is the only one and every now and then it does a drive like this, electric cars are not practical yet. Okay for the two car family; one electric for the city and the other not, for long distance. Doesn’t work for only owning one car, unless you don’t go far. Good for driving to work, although I cycled. I am considering an electric bike. One big negative with that is the weight. I might not be able to lift it onto the bus as I can at present with my non-electric bike.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:54 pm 19 Apr 18

    What is the point in putting an electric bike onto a bus?

A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 5:14 pm 19 Apr 18

To the naysayers:
-The ACT’s 100% renewable electricity is cheaper than in any other state thanks in part to reverse auctions for power purchase agreements that fix the cost for 20 years. We get paid the difference if ever the the wholesale price goes above the contracted price. Thank Simon Corbell and his advisers for their foresight.
-The vehicles will be electric when ‘fit for purpose’. So, a ranger’s 4WD ute will only be electric if such a vehicle is available to lease. (There is no in principle reason why such a vehicle could not be made)
-Most EV charging for urban trips will happen at home or from relatively cheap, relatively slow charging outlets. Only a small number of more expensive ‘rapid’ chargers are needed.
-The NRMA is spending $10million on a rapid (50kW) charger network sufficient to cover 95% of its members’ extra-urban trips at intervals on major routes around NSW and the ACT. The intervals are sufficient for the current batch of more affordable EVs. They based their modelling the Hyundai Ionique. Charging will be free to members.
-None of the ACT’s EV-promoting measures are expensive. The govt. would still be leasing a fleet of new cars and turning them over every few years. This way, EVs will come onto the second-hand market and be affordable for ordinary folk.
-This is not a decision made unilaterally by Minister Rattenbury. The cabinet had to agree to it.

    A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 5:47 pm 19 Apr 18

    PS. A plug-in series hybrid with a modest battery size lets most or all local travel be electric while still having a range-extending petrol generator on board to prevent the battery charge falling below a set minimum. The PHEV Mitsubishi Outlander is a common example. Two electric motors, one front, one rear, provide 4WD, with the differential function handled electronically. The policy applies to plug-in vehicles, not just pure battery EVs.

    The ACT policy is very welcome but modest by international standards. Car makers such as Volvo have announced that all their vehicles will be plug-in. Various counties have announced dates beyond which all newly registered vehicles must be plug-in.

    I assume that none of the naysayers have actually driven a modern electric car. When you have experienced the instantaneous and utterly smooth constant torque available in any EV, everything else seems antique.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:53 pm 19 Apr 18

    “When you have experienced the instantaneous and utterly smooth constant torque available in any EV, everything else seems antique.”

    Sounds pretty boring to me. I have never had a “performance” car. Nothing wrong with the modern ICE either.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:44 am 18 Apr 18

I’m now recalling the lyrics of that song from Grease called “You’re The One that I want”:

“I got chills they’re multiplying. And I’m losing control ‘Cause the power you’re supplying. It’s electrifying. You better shape up, ’cause I need a man. And my heart is set on you. You better shape up, you better understand. To my heart I must be true. Nothing left, nothing left for me to do. You’re the one that I want. You are the …”

Sort of fits Rattenbury’s vision, no?

gooterz gooterz 11:32 pm 17 Apr 18

I can see it now. Electric police cars calling off chases due to low power.
Electric fire engines.

Electric planes flying to Singapore.

Surely there is going to be a green tax/levy to fund all of this

    A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 4:54 pm 19 Apr 18

    You do know the ACT has the cheapest electricity in the country? Whenever the wholesale electricity price goes higher than the ACT’s contracted, fixed for 20 year price, we get paid the difference by the renewable generator.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 5:07 pm 17 Apr 18

“By 2020 the ACT will be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity, meaning our biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions – at over 60 per cent– will be transport.”

So where’s our very, very, very BIG battery to store all that renewable electricity when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing? It might be better to admit that it will be 100% when conditions are optimal, and otherwise we will continue to rely on electricity, including from fossil fuels, from inter-state.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:25 pm 17 Apr 18

    Like I said earlier, it’s a fantasy.

    JC JC 6:29 am 18 Apr 18

    You clearly don’t understand how the national grid operates.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:24 am 17 Apr 18

For those who are interested, here is a link to details of the five main electric cars that are available in Australia:

Brian Hack Brian Hack 9:55 pm 16 Apr 18

The rangers in Namadgi are not going to be smiling when the batteries go flat out on Mt Clear fire trail.

    Gerry Satrapa Gerry Satrapa 10:29 am 17 Apr 18

    Pretty sure they wouldn’t be happy running out of fuel, either...

    Scott Welsh Scott Welsh 6:18 am 19 Apr 18

    They can carry fuel jerries, or solar panels. Which one would get them further I wonder? 😉

Ken Thompson Ken Thompson 4:57 pm 16 Apr 18

Good on you ACT. The nation’s capital should be leading the way & it’s good to see. I hope it sends a strong message to your state & territory counterparts.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:23 am 16 Apr 18

The capital expenditure on Minister Rattenbury’s pet project will be massive. Does he have the authority to approve it?

Apart from that, who is going to use the facilities. I note there a couple of (free) car spaces allocated to electric car charging in the car park adjacent to the law courts, next to several other spaces for the exclusive use of ride share vehicles. I have never seen any vehicles in these spaces. It is revenue foregone for a fantasy.

Likewise on the road trip to Melbourne now there are 5 Tesla recharge bays behind the new “mung bean and chip-free” cafe near Gungdagi. How much is a Tesla, about $150K? So, it was not surprising to see these bays vacant too. The environmental damage to hook these bays up from the grid has been substantial. Where there were shady 150 year old elm trees there are now power lines and concrete (just like a light rail).

I wonder what an electric-bike recharging bay looks like and of course, the electricity for the bikes will be free like everything else is for Canberra bikes.

    JC JC 6:33 am 18 Apr 18

    So what do you expect the cost to be? Detailed calculation please. I hope you crystal ball is working well.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:10 am 18 Apr 18

    Well, 600 vehicles @ $50K each, that’s $30 million for a start. Yes, I know they will be leased but the Territory is still liable for the full amount repayable and we all know that the Better Place failure cost ratepayers millions.

    Then there are charging points which were costing ActewAGL $200K each 10 years ago so lets say $400K now and 100 will be needed so there’s another $40K

    Then there is the cost of electricity to run them. How much further do you want me to go?

    A Nonny Mouse A Nonny Mouse 6:15 pm 19 Apr 18

    You don’t need 100 rapid chargers and your $400K x 100 sum is ludicrous – I assume you meant to come out to $40million. The NRMA is installing a rapid (50kW) charging network to cover much of NSW and the ACT with a $10million budget and providing charging free to members.

    More realistically, several hundred dollars is all that is needed for each of the 600 vehicles for charging at modest rates, sufficient to ensure a full or substantially topped up battery every time the car is taken out. Our household has two EVs and all our local driving is electric and catered for with one ordinary 15A socket.

    nickwest nickwest 10:02 am 20 Apr 18

    “Normal” vehicles aren’t free either, nor is the fuel to run them. Electricity for an electric car is much cheaper per km than fossil fuel. A couple of links:

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