A council in Sydney’s north-east next month will decide whether to invest $370,000 to begin the transition to zero emissions transport that will see electric vehicles and charging stations become part of the council’s every-day operations.
As part of Ryde’s four year delivery program, the proposal, if approved in June, will see two electric vehicles purchased for the staff transport pool and three EV charging stations installed for council use at Top Ryde Central, Macquarie Park and at the councils’ operation centres in Meadowbank.
For the progressive council, which has also divested from fossil-fuel aligned institutions and last Tuesday declared a “climate emergency”, it will be a crucial step towards a reduction of carbon emissions by Ryde Council.
“It’s very much a first step towards the transition,” Councillor Christopher Gordon, who is confident the proposal will be passed, tells The Driven.
If passed, $170,000 will be allocated for the purchase of the vehicles and to commence installation of charging infrastructure in the 2019/2020 budget, with a further $200,000 projected for the following financial year.
“It’s part of the community strategic plan to be a smart and innovative city, to take leadership in those areas,” says Gordon, noting that last year Ryde Council undertook to explore how to reach a target of 60% renewably-sourced energy by 2030.
“It’s part of the package and our way of thinking – we at council can’t change the world but we can be at the frontline,” he says.
To be used in the day-to-day operations by council staff, the two electric vehicles could later become part of a larger fleet of EVs to be used by council. “It’s something we’d like to look at in the future,” says Gordon, noting that unknowns include how state government will assist in the rollout of charging infrastructure.
“It’s always hard to know how much a council should do and how much should be left to the state government and so on – but we are also interested at looking at what other avenues we can do.”
In addition to the installation of charging stations for use by council staff at Top Ryde, Macquarie Park and Meadowbank, Ryde Council is also planning to install electric vehicle chargers for public use at a new $7.2million Rowe Street East shopping carpark in Eastwood.
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.