10 June 2021

Probing the polls: electric vehicles and choosing scooter commuting

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Electric scooter

Would you use an e-scooter to commute to work? Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Are electric vehicles the way of the future? The ACT Government is working hard to ensure that’s the case by providing incentives to purchase the new vehicles.

But based on our most recent poll, plenty of Canberrans are still unsure at this stage about making the switch from petrol or diesel.

The ACT Government has announced two years’ free registration for new and used electric vehicles acquired after 24 May, in addition to new EVs being exempt from stamp duty. Some argue that there’s never been a better time to think about going electric since the combined incentives will take about 5 per cent off the cost of an EV.

We asked, Will you buy an electric vehicle? A total of 620 readers responded.

Your choices were to vote Yes, it’s the way of the future and design will only improve. This received 51 per cent of the total, or 315 votes. Alternatively, you could vote No, too pricy, too hard to charge and I’m not sure they’re reliable. This received 49 per cent of the total, or 305 votes.

This week, we’re continuing the conversation about commuting and the city’s move to zero-emission forms of transport.

The ACT Government has announced its Make the Move initiative, a six-week program for workplaces to receive a tailored workshop and trial the use of electric bikes and e-scooters, which enable employees to replace their car commutes with active travel.

READ ALSO Project asks us to move to bikes, electric bikes and e-scooters for daily commute

Four workplaces have signed on to the program so far: inner-city men’s barbershop Truefitt & Hill, digital design agency Annex, advocacy organisation Early Childhood Australia, and Canberra’s water and sewerage supplier Icon Water.

E-bikes and e-scooters have been provided by Switched On Cycles, and the project is supported by the ACT Government’s Community Zero Emissions Grants Program with $39,572 in funding.

But will it work? Some readers were enthusiastic adopters; others had serious doubts about how ready we are for this as a city.

Molly Stanley wrote: “Create a safe and direct bike route along Hindmarsh Drive between Narrabundah/Fyshwick and Woden and I’d be all in! I’d love to do more active travel on my e-scooter. The trouble is that for my commute, the infrastructure isn’t quite there yet. My options are to either ride on an 80 km/h road where the bike lanes are inadequate, or to triple my commute distance by going all the way around Red Hill.”

Elizabeth Ann Thurbon agreed, writing: “For this to work and be accepted, we will need more dedicated bike/scooter lanes. People hate bikes and scooters on footpaths, and bike/scooter riders find riding in the traffic frightening.”

DreamBelief is a keen advocate, though: “Why is everyone acting like the only reason for this is reducing congestion? Have you never interacted with our health system? It’s woefully under strain.

“More people cycling, even with power assist, would make a significant difference to costs, crowding and waitlists given the reality is a poor lifestyle is one of the primary drivers of the strain.

“It also has the side benefit of assisting us to reach goals regarding emissions, although if you’re selfish and only really care about your own immediate future, then just focus on the benefits for the health system.”

We’re asking:

Will you ditch the daily car commute for active transport alternatives?

View Results

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We are both retired, we don’t commute to work. We don’t drive more than 3 times a week, even counting when we go into the national parks to walk with our walking group.

Our petrol vehicle is less than 7 years old and has < 80k kms on it.

If we need something urgently today, we can walk to the shops nearby for it.

We are most unlikely to buy an EV on any basis, other than a better ROI than keeping the current vehicle offers.

There is a 'you should' component mixed in here, where-as I'm suggesting why would we?

Could you, Genevieve tell us what you've done to reduce your fossil-fuel consumption, say since 1981.

Like buying a suitably oriented house that you've adapted to reduce its need for heating / cooling?

Houses are ON in Canberra a lot more often / for longer and every day, unlike a car.

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