Government-funded program to fast-track uptake of electric cars for corporate fleets

Australian businesses will be supported to fast-track the electrification of their corporate fleets through a new federal government investment to help them make “informed” choices and aid energy networks to plan for the potential impact.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will fund the rollout of a new program aimed at reducing the financial burden on businesses by cutting consultancy fees for fleet managers to develop electric vehicle procurement plans that include economic and environmental assessments and charging infrastructure.

Corporate and government fleet procurement of electric vehicles is predicted to boom over the coming decade as EVs reach price parity with petrol cars by the early to mid-2020s.

Sales of electric vehicles have increased from 670 vehicles in the first half of 2018 to 1277 in the first half of this year, despite national vehicle sales falling 8.4 per cent in the same timeframe.

Australian start-up Evenergi will on Tuesday launch the program, developed in partnership with the Electric Vehicle Council, aimed at delivering “tens of thousands” of EVs onto Australian roads over the next five years.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari said the cars were no longer “some experimental novelty”, but while fleet managers across the country wanted to explore the electric option, the shift could be daunting.

“Making the call to transition to an electric fleet currently requires complex, costly, and time-consuming analysis,” Mr Jafari said.

“Obviously the natural human inclination is to stick with what you know. But we’re confident once we demystify the process of switching to EVs, many Australian fleet managers will consider them irresistible.”

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said Evenergi’s program would offer free practical advice for fleet managers and businesses to make commercial decisions about the future of their fleet and how they can transition to EVs with minimal impact on their operations.

It includes a free online platform – called BetterFleet – to assist businesses to develop a detailed business case for switching to EVs.

“Taken together, Evenergi’s online platforms will help businesses, consumers, and electricity networks make informed decisions about switching to electric vehicles and managing the potential impact,” he said.

Fleets make up 52 per cent of new vehicle sales and their uptake of EVs is expected to serve as an important source to making the cars more affordable to families on the second-hand market.

Evenergi chief executive office Daniel Hilson said the program, which was provided with almost $500,000 from the federal government, was the culmination of long planning and development phases.

He said on current projections the program would help deliver “tens of thousands” of EVs onto Australian roads over the next five years.

“Future versions will include the ability to seamlessly acquire charging infrastructure,” he said.

“This is about offering Australian businesses, councils, and organisations real choice. Managers should be able to clearly understand the options they have and proceed from that basis.”

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the announcement complements existing and planned charging networks across Australia, including networks supported by ARENA through Evie Networks and Chargefox.

He said the government wanted to provide “practical actions” to address barriers to EV uptake, so that Australians who choose to adopt new technologies “are supported in doing so.”


Extracted from The Sydney Morning Herald