Central Coast Council’s fleet of battery and hybrid electric vehicles (EVs) is generating financial benefits and local opportunities as the cost of fuel continues to climb.

Council’s long-term strategy to transition its light commercial and passenger vehicles to an EV fleet is in line with the NSW Government’s Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan, and aims to leverage benefits outlined in a 2020 Uncovering the hidden costs and benefits from Electric Vehicles report by EY for the Electric Vehicle Council.

Council Director Corporate Affairs and Chief Financial Officer, Natalia Cowley, said Council’s decision to invest in EVs over the medium- to long-term is paying early dividends financially, and providing the opportunity to upskill Council mechanics in an emerging field of “high-voltage” servicing and maintenance.

“In the last 12 months the cost of fuel for our fossil-fuelled fleet has skyrocketed and is expected to continue to rise,” she said.

“We also expect this impact will see the demand for EVs in the wider community grow.

“Our current 10-year plan, which started three years ago, aims to ensure we are gradually transitioning our fleet to EVs, as our budgets and available technology allow for in a responsible and sensible year-on-year manner, rather than having to purchase them all at once at a time in the future when many other fleets will be seeking to do likewise.”

Cowley said Council now has several “smart charging stations” at different Council sites, with features that allow EVs to be charged off-peak.

In the future, vehicle-to-grid charging capability may be explored.

“Increasing the number of charging stations has been a focus in the last 12 months to ensure our EV assets perform just as well as their fossil-fuelled counterparts in real-world scenarios, and that we get maximum use and value from our EV and hybrid fleet,” she said.

“Council’s fleet includes a hybrid 20-tonne excavator, a first-of-kind in NSW local government full battery electric tipper truck, six hybrid electric trucks, nine full battery electric passenger vehicles and 112 hybrid electric passenger vehicles.”

Cowley said each hybrid or electric vehicle introduced so far has displaced a full fossil-fueled vehicle that had reached its end of service life.

“We look forward to the next addition to our fleet, due to join in July 22, which will be a small library book community delivery service van,” she said.

Cowley said Council had also partnered with five Hunter-based Councils to combine selected electricity requirements into a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement.

Council Administrator, Rik Hart, said Council was continuing to explore funding assistance and subsidies under various programs currently on offer by the NSW Government.

Extracted in full from: Council’s electric fleet powers ahead – Central Coast News (coastcommunitynews.com.au)

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