ACT Government is planning to transition its entire fleet to zero emission vehicles by 2040, adopting 20 hydrogen vehicles and utilising the first public hydrogen refuelling station in Australia.
This case study explores how ACT Government is setting ambitious targets to make real progress towards climate action.
How the ACT Government is transitioning to zero emissions vehicles
The Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) program has involved a wide range of actions focussed on reducing transport related emissions in the ACT Government fleet, as set out in the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25 and Zero Emission Vehicles Action Plan 2018-21.
Two key targets have driven the ACT Government ZEV program:
- At least 50% of all newly leased ACT Government fleet passenger vehicles will be zero emissions vehicles in 2019–20 (where fit for purpose), and
- All newly leased ACT Government passenger fleet vehicles will be zero emissions vehicles from 2020–21 (where fit for purpose), and to provide charging infrastructure to support this transition.
Many other initiatives to support the ZEV transition have also been implemented including:
- rolling out 20 hydrogen vehicles and the first public hydrogen refuelling station in Australia
- trialing electric trucks and busses
- vehicle to grid trials
- a public commitment and plan to transition the bus fleet to zero emissions vehicles
- a public commitment to roll out 50 EV fast chargers by June 2022
- placing an order for Australia’s first electric fire truck, due for delivery in 2022
- stimulating the second-hand EV market
The Government has also published a plan to switch its bus fleet, which accounts for around half of its emissions, to a zero emissions fleet by 2040.
Implementation has been achieved through dedicated funding to install charging infrastructure across ACT Government to support the transition. This work has included electrical reticulation to support increased electrical demand and the continual rollout of chargers predominantly where passenger vehicles are based. The Zero Emission Vehicles team has consulted with all fleet, sustainability and facility managers across government to plan charger installations over time. This coordinated approach has reduced costs and disruption, enabling the transition to progress smoothly.
The rollout of charging infrastructure is accelerating over time, with around 125 fast chargers currently installed expected to rise to close to 400 by the end of the FY2021/22. This will include underground parking at Allara Street that will provide 50 charging stations in one location, the largest charger deployment in Australia.
The Government fleet now consists of 174 zero emissions vehicles including 20 hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, with 17 ZEVs currently on order and a significantly increased uptake expected as more chargers come online later in the financial year.
The lessons the Government has learned are now being leveraged in the business community through a Fleet Advisory Service.
Outcomes of the ACT’s Zero Emissions Vehicles Program
Since implementing the plan, the proportion of Council’s zero emissions passenger vehicles has increased from less than 4% to over 28%. Fleet emissions have fallen by over 420 tonnes of CO2, equating to over 0.5% of current ACT Government emissions!
These emissions will continue to fall and are expected to be near zero emissions by 2025 once all current passenger vehicle leases have expired and are replaced by zero emissions vehicles.
Corporate and community
The fleet transition has directly reduced corporate emissions. The transition has also stimulated the second-hand EV market and will continue to do so as more EVs leave the Government fleet, reducing community emissions through uptake of affordable EVs.
The Government’s rollout of 50 public charging stations and zero registration fees for two years for new EVs will also stimulate uptake of EVs in the community and reduce associated emissions.
The reduction in emissions from the Government fleet will improve public health through reduced air pollution. The highly visible vehicles will also promote zero emissions vehicles in the community, driving the adoption of zero emissions vehicles amongst businesses and the public, further improving air quality. A new Fleet Advisory Service is leveraging the lessons learned, enabling the wider ACT community and businesses to implement charging infrastructure more easily and cheaply.
There have been significant savings to the Government in the form of reduced costs associated with maintenance and cheaper fuel (electricity) costs.
Solar panels are and will increasingly be installed at Government sites to further reduce the cost of vehicle electric vehicle charging.
The zero emissions vehicles in the ACT Government fleet are genuinely zero emissions due to the ACT sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. This means the electricity and hydrogen used in the vehicles is 100% green energy.
Projects like this, alongside increased efforts to encourage community uptake of zero emissions vehicles and facilitating high quality low emissions public transport networks are essential to helping the ACT become a net zero emissions territory by 2045.
ACT Government was a winner in the Sustainable Transport Achievement category in the Cities Power Partnership Climate Awards 2021.
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