Councils are large organisations, much larger than people often think. To give readers some context, Hobart City Council operates on a budget of $142 million per annum. This is more than the budget for many of the State based services, like Ambulance Tasmania. Councils also deliver a large number of services requiring the use of different types of vehicles, from light fleet vehicles for inspectors and managers to move about the city, to heavy vehicles like garbage trucks. They also utilise lot of different plant machinery, like mowers and excavators. As a result of providing such a wide range of services, and needing such a large number of vehicles, Council's expenditure on vehicle and vehicle running costs are significant.
I felt it was timely to write this post now, as fuel prices soar to record highs, with no signs of slowing down. At the time of writing retail diesel price is $2.30/L in Hobart. There has been discussions at different government levels of how to best deal with this financial challenge, including reducing fuel excise tax at the federal level. However, there are things we can enact at a council level to reduce Hobart City Council's ongoing operating costs. I'm talking about electrification of the entire Council fleet.
Not only does fuel cost mean that it is getting increasingly expensive to run traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and plant machinery, but Hobart and Tasmania are fortunate to run on 100% green energy. So it make sense that Hobert City Council, as the council operating the states capital, leads the way in electrification of the fleet. Even though the purchase price of electric vehicles is higher than traditional ICE vehicles, the ongoing maintenance costs and running costs are significantly less. Furthermore, the resale value tends to be much higher. So it makes financial sense and its good for the planet. The large scale use of electric vehicles at government level also means that more electric vehicles come onto the second hand market, increasing the rate of affordable electric vehicle take up by the general population. Electric vehicles are also quieter with less emissions, making our city a more pleasant place to be.
So, if I'm elected to Hobart City Council, I will request an investigation into electrification of the entire fleet of Hobart City Council vehicles, including:
Costing a 3 year replacement program for the entire light fleet, like passenger cars
Reporting on new technologies for heavy vehicles, like garbage trucks
Investigating options for light plant machinery, like mowers and small excavators
Trialling a new program of shared personal mobility devices for council staff to use to get to appointments, such as a small fleet of electric scooters or electric bikes, to reduce the total number of fleet cars (and reduce congestion in the city)
Costing the ongoing running costs of the entire current fleet vs a future electric fleet
Identifying further areas for solar installation on council buildings to offset the cost of charging the fleet
Producing a 5 year costed transition plan
Seeking federal and state government grants to aid in the transition costs.
Transitioning the fleet to electric just makes sense.