The Australia Capital Territory – already Australia’s most welcoming territory for electric vehicles – is launching an electric vehicle bulk-buy program aimed at turning government fleets totally electric.

At a summit of climate action councils last week, ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury encouraged local councils to consider joining the ACT to coordinate possible bulk buy purchase of electric vehicles for government fleets.

“Working closely with other councils who may also wish to expand their electric vehicle fleets, this strengthens our negotiating position and signals that there is a strong and growing demand for electric vehicles in the Australian market,” the minister said.

“These efforts will ensure that Canberra and the region is well-placed to take advantage of this growing global trend, including the flow-on economic benefits.”

In April, the ACT government released an action plan from now until 2021 accelerate and support the uptake of zero emissions vehicles.

The plan includes at least 50 per cent of all newly leased ACT Government fleet passenger vehicles to be zero emissions vehicles in 2019-20, and 100 per cent for newly leased vehicles from 2020-21.

As of March 2018, there were 680 cars in the ACT Government passenger vehicle fleet, 17 of which are battery electric vehicles and seven plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, as well as 62 hybrid vehicles.

“Local jurisdictions are at the frontline of climate change impacts, and are well-placed to implement climate change solutions,” Rattenbury said.

“That’s why today I’ve reaffirmed our offer to other jurisdictions to work with the ACT, and enhance our bargaining power to get the best prices for electric vehicles.

“This presents a unique opportunity for the ACT Government to negotiate a better deal with manufacturers, when it comes to a bulk buy of electric vehicles in our fleet.”

The ACT’s Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan also commits the government to work with local and state governments to install charging stations on major routes to and from Canberra, including on routes to Sydney and coastal areas, so tackling range anxiety and at the same time promoting regional tourism and economic opportunities.

The Minister said the shift to zero emissions vehicles would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and reduce noise pollution.

“This is an important part of our work to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 at the latest.”

By 2020, emissions from transport are estimated to account for over 60% of ACT emissions, sys the ACT government. Reducing emissions from car use is therefore critical, says Rattenbury, to reduce overall emissions.

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