ARENA boosting commercial shift to EV fleets


It is no surprise that ARENA is looking to boost the transition to EVs. According to the government’s 2018 emissions projections, transport is set to continue as one of Australia’s biggest emitters, particularly road transport. EVs are the obvious solution, but uptake is hampered by such hindrances as expense, charging infrastructure, and concordantly, range-anxiety.  

However, the tide is changing. EVs are falling in price and gaining in utility, EV manufacturers are engaging in ‘unprecedented’ collaboration toward economies of scalecharging networks are being laid out, energy retailers are incentivising EV uptake and sought after models like Tesla’s Model 3 have finally arrived on Australian shores. The EV revolution is beginning to look about as inevitable as the Storming of the Bastille, though less noisy.  

Last year, ARENA and CEFC published a report predicting the uptake of EVs would increase significantly over the next decade as EVs reach price parity with petrol cars by the early to mid-2020s. Toward this end, ARENA has recognised that the key to energy transition in the road transport sector is fleet vehicles. After all, fleet vehicles make up more than half of all new vehicle sales in Australia. If this whopping great commercial edifice can fall to the energy transition, the entire state of the road transport market is sure to follow. 

Evenergi is already putting ARENA’s funding to good use with the launch of an initiative called Charge Together Fleets program, developed alongside the Electric Vehicle Council (EVC). The program looks to help businesses make the switch to EVs. For instance, the program includes a free online platform, BetterFleet, which fleet managers can utilise to map potential shifts to EVs. 

The BetterFleet platform allows users to develop procurement plans with detailed economic and environmental assessments of vehicles and charging infrastructure. In the coming year, Evenergi will also launch a companion platform and smartphone app for private consumers, helping Australians find the EV to suit them. 

Over 100 Australian fleets have already signed up to the Charge Together Fleets program, including NRMA, Charles Sturt University and Ausgrid. 

“This is about offering Australian businesses, councils and organisations real choice,” said Evenergi CEO Dan Hilson, “BetterFleet will reduce the cost of planning a migration by tens of thousands of dollars in many cases and managers should be able to clearly understand the options they have and proceed from that basis.” 

Any great shift is bound to have a reverberating impact on the system at large. In this knowledge, Evenergi is also developing an Australia-wide planning tool for electricity distributors to adequately plan and manage the effects of the EV transition on the electricity system. 

This planning tool is essentially a forecasting framework taking into account data such as network constraints, EV electricity capacity, usage, necessities of charging infrastructure, existing and future renewable energy generation, management tools, and the like. The planning tool is set for launch in early 2020 with Ausgrid as its first user. The hope is that the utilisation of the tool will improve grid reliability. 

 ARENA CEO Darren Miller said Evenergi’s online platforms would help inform those who wished to purchase EVs. “Charge Together Fleets is a free, practical way for fleet managers and businesses to make commercial decisions about the future of their fleet,” said Miller, “and how they can best transition to EVs with minimum impact on their operations.” 

ARENA has already committed $21 million in funding to Chargefox and Evie Networks toward the layout of a charging network along major interstate highways around Australia.  

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