7 March 2024

New grants created to push more businesses to drive electric vehicles on Canberra's roads

| Claire Fenwicke
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WokItUp co-founders Chris and Linda Comb and electric van

WokItUp co-founders Chris and Linda Comb have used a new grant to help buy an electric van to deliver supplies across Canberra. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Co-founders of WokItUp Chris and Linda Comb have always wanted their business to reduce its emissions but the cost of commercial electric vehicles had been holding them back.

They’re among the first recipients of the new Business Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) grants scheme which offers $20,000 to help businesses take the final step in transitioning their fleets.

The pair bought a Ford e-Transit to deliver supplies across their Canberra stores. It was always the plan but the “quite significant” capital outlay meant originally it wasn’t going to happen for another one to two years.

Ms Lamb said the benefits had gone beyond saving money on fuel.

“The biggest benefit for me is not having to go to the petrol station,” she said.

“It’s just a matter of plugging in as soon as you get home or when the sun’s out, it’s super convenient.”

Goodwin Aged Care Services was another recipient, using the $20,000 to help purchase two 12-seat electric minibuses to replace their old internal combustion engine versions.

The buses will be used each day to help clients attend Goodwin Day Clubs, exercise and stay active.

CEO Stephen Holmes said the vehicles were at a replacement age, so the timing of the grant was “ideal”.

“We do a lot of kilometres across the ACT and the South Coast of NSW, and that comes with the normal vehicle costs,” he said.

“So we certainly felt from a business case that moving to an electric vehicle would certainly be better in the longer term for us.”

He explained electric buses still weren’t particularly affordable for the average small business, and even for Goodwin the capital outlay had been a challenge.

“The grant money that we used from the ACT Government probably contributed about 15 to 20 per cent of the capital cost,” Mr Goodwin said.

Grassroots sustainability organisation SEE Change was the third recipient, buying a Peugeot e-Expert van to support activities for its office, such as delivering electric bikes and merchandise to events.

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These first-time grants have been designed to entice more businesses to take up electric vehicles.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury said while there had been a lot of “enthusiasm” from Canberrans making the switch, businesses were a different story.

“This is a sector that has probably been a little bit slow on the uptake,” he said.

Given commercial vehicles are used more than passenger vehicles, their emissions profile tend to be higher. So too are their running and maintenance costs.

Mr Rattenbury admitted there could be some “tension” from those who felt some of the recipients may have been able to afford the technology already.

But he felt the grant recipients chosen were appropriate.

“[This is] a relatively small grant to help tip people over, but also to be leaders, the ones who are willing to step over first, be involved in promotional activities and to help bring the measure to the wider community about the viability of these sorts of vehicles.”

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As supply chains for commercial vehicles continue to improve, and charging infrastructure increases throughout Canberra, it’s hoped even more commercial ZEVs will be on the road in the future.

It could also help bolster a second-hand market.

“In Australia we are seeing a significant increase in the type and range of electric vehicles that are available,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“With more vans and buses coming on the market, this grants program encourages businesses and community organisations to consider the benefits of transitioning from an old petrol or diesel fleet to a ZEV.”

Find out more about the Business Zero Emissions Vehicle Grants program online.

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Capital Retro6:32 pm 10 Mar 24

This is a condition of the grant. More expense for the taxpayer, for what?

“Also note, telematic devices will be placed (cost covered by the Territory) in the vehicles to assist in assessing vehicle utilisation, develop case studies and to help provide data driven examples of vehicle applications.”

GrumpyGrandpa4:05 pm 10 Mar 24

Hardly new grants. Applications closed in May 2023.

I suspect that the only ones who benefited from these granted were the few business operators who received the grants.

Whether tax payers or the environment benefited, given the higher upfront carbon cost involved in anything EV, well, that might be a different story.

The Kia EV 9 is heavier than my Ford Ranger. In fact any EV with a 100kwh battery weighs more than my Ranger. That Polestar 4 is a weight monster as well. Those tyres don’t last very long and emit more particulate matter than the road tyres on my Ranger

Whats the life expectancy of an EV for business? 10 years or less before the battery breaks itself.

The technology in your mobile phone is the same, you recharge it every day and after 4 years you find it wont hold a charge.

In 10 years time we’ll likely have much better battery technology.
the 2nd hand market for EV’s is pretty terrible today, as the last years are basically instant asset write off.

Capital Retro2:31 pm 09 Mar 24

Giving away taxpayer’s money = bad

Creating new grants for electric vehicles = good

Government grants are given for a lot of reasons. Helping businesses reduce emissions seems like a wise choice of taxpayers money. The total grant across the scheme was $150,000 so it is probably less than the ACT Government spends on writing off parking tickets per quarter.

I doubt you have read the full details of the scheme. They are available here https://www.climatechoices.act.gov.au/policy-programs/business-zevs-program/business-zero-emissions-vehicle-grants-guidelines

Have a look and then let us know what part you actually object to. Is it the small expenditure or the face that you hate anything to do with renewable energy?

Capital Retro12:07 pm 10 Mar 24

The only reason here is virtual signaling. The practical outcome is so small it cannot be measured.

Renewable energy is a global scam.

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