City of Greater Geelong Council is working to drive down its carbon emissions, with the first fully electric vehicles (EV) recently added to the fleet.
Two electric Renault Kangoo ZE vans, with a range of more than 200 kilometres, are now being used by Council’s amenity cleaners.
The vans are recharged in six hours overnight at the Belmont depot, via a newly installed EV charging station.
A further four electric vans, and two electric commercial ride-on mowers, have been ordered and will soon be in use, Council said.
Greater Geelong Mayor, Stephanie Asher said the transformation to a zero-emission light vehicle fleet by 2027 was a key goal of the Council’s Draft Climate Change Response Plan.
“Powering our buildings, community facilities and vehicles is a huge contributor to the organisation’s carbon emissions,” she said.
“Together with the landmark new deal to source all of the organisation’s electricity needs from renewable energy, the switch to electric vehicles will help us achieve our ambitious reduction targets.”
She said the staged transition to a low emission light vehicle fleet had gathered pace in the past 18 months, with hybrids purchased whenever a replacement vehicle was required.
The City is liaising with local government group Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action to plan its light fleet transition to EV’s, including the necessary charging infrastructure.
Fifty-four of the City’s 114 light vehicles are hybrids – mainly Toyota Corolla, Camry and RAV 4s – as similar model petrol or diesel-fuelled sedans are phased out.
Through the Victorian Energy Collaboration, the City is sourcing 100 per cent renewable energy from two western Victoria wind farms until the end of 2030.
It is a key feature of the aim to see all City-managed operations carbon neutral by 2025.
Chair of the Climate Change Action portfolio, Belinda Moloney said Council was strongly focused on supporting the expected community uptake in EVs.
“Council is doing all we can to minimise our own footprint, but the biggest influence we can have is to assist the community to transition to a zero-carbon environment,” Cr Moloney said.
“Prioritising sustainable transport infrastructure and services will be a feature in encouraging this societal change.
“I encourage interested community members to check the Geelong Australia website or contact their local councillors if they need help getting started.”
There are currently 13 publicly accessible EV charging stations in the municipality, which are located in Armstrong Creek, Geelong and Leopold.
The City has also been successful in securing funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to install a further eight EV charging stations in the Geelong region.
The new Civic Precinct, known as Wurriki Nyal, will also include EV charging stations when it opens in mid-2022.