All new ACT government vehicles to be electric

The ACT government has again taken a lead on green policy in Australia and unveiled the nation’s most ambitious transition plan to electric vehicles, including a mandate for all newly leased government vehicles to be zero emissions from 2021.

The new transport strategy, unveiled by energy minister Shane Rattenbury, includes a study of solar-powered charging stations in car parks, vehicle-to-grid studies, use of transit lanes, and salary sacrifice options, as well as parking and building requirements.

The move on electric vehicles follows the Capital Territory’s lead on renewables, through which it has already contracted with some 650MW of wind and solar farms that will deliver the equivalent of ACT’s annual electricity consumption by 2020.

The transport strategy – and the push to zero emissions vehicles – is the next phase, and is by far the most ambitious plan of any state or territory government in the country.

“Zero emissions vehicles offer a clean, reliable and smart option for travel in Canberra,” Rattenbury said. “From 2020 in the ACT, all electricity will be from renewable sources – so using a zero emissions vehicle charged in the ACT will result in no greenhouse gas emissions.”

The ACT has already introduced discounted registration and stamp duty costs for EVs, but the new initiative takes this much further – for both electric cars and electric bikes, which it sees as a major new attraction for consumers.

The Electric Vehicle Council said the government purchasing mandate sets a benchmark for other governments and will send a strong signal to the market to bring more models into the country.

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Giles Parkinson