New South Wales is set to embrace the transition to clean transport, with millions earmarked by the state Coalition government to roll out electric car charging infrastructure, and support targets and trials aimed at furthering the uptake of electric vehicles.
The Berejiklian government announcement pledges $3 million in the form of a co-investment to fund EV fast chargers on major regional corridors including the Newell, Great Western, New England, Pacific and Princes Highways and the Hume Motorway.
Another $2 million will fund charging points in commuter car parks such as at train stations.
The funding forms part of the NSW government’s Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan which was announced by Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey at Sydney University on Monday afternoon.
In addition to the funding, the NSW government will aim for a target of 10 per cent of its entire general purpose fleet starting 2020/21 to be either pure electric or hybrid.
An electric bus trial for Sydney’s Inner West will also commence in July 2019, as well as an assessment of the feasibility of transitioning bus depots to partial or full electric operations.
Additionally, the NSW government says that guidelines will be developed for preferred charging standards, and installation of EV chargers in roadside service centres.
Strategic planning guides for land use will also be developed to assist councils with the preparation for an EV future.
“More people are embracing electric and hybrid vehicles and we need to do our part to ensure we have the infrastructure in place so that people are confident to use these vehicles right across the state,” Constance told media.
Pavey said in a statement that, “In the coming weeks we will commence market soundings for charging points to ensure we get the best value for money and identify the right locations by co-investing with industry.
According to Pavey, “This means NSW will have one of the largest fleets of electric and hybrid vehicles in Australia,” alongside the ACT.
Behyad Jafari, CEO of the Electric Vehicle Council which has been working to encourage uptake of electric vehicles, attended the event announcement and said in a statement that the policy is “desperately needed”.
“A mass switch to electric vehicles would improve the lives of every citizen and make New South Wales a better state.
“Cost of living pressure would ease if we broke our dependence on imported petrol. Carbon emissions would drop. And if the smoke and noise of combustion engines was phased out, our cities would become healthy and beautiful places to live.
“That’s why the electric vehicle industry welcomes this policy as an important first step. It is an affirmation from the state government that a mass move toward electric vehicles is coming and we’re getting on with the job of making sure it happens here sooner rather than later.
Australia has been singled out as a “global laggard” in its slow uptake of electric vehicles, as shown yet again in recent figures from figures obtained from GoCompare.
It’s a message that Jafari emphasised again.
“Plans like the one outlined today are an important nudge toward dislodging the boulder from the top of the mountain.
“Once momentum swings in behind electric vehicles, the shift will come quickly and investment will flow.
“There’s no sugar coating reality: Australia is the world’s laggard when it comes to electric vehicle take up. And that’s simply not good enough when you’re talking about a smart state like New South Wales. We can do much better and we are eager to continue working with the NSW Government to deliver progress.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.