Discount city parking for electric, low emissions cars

South Australian electric and low emissions vehicle drivers could soon enjoy “huge … positive price discrimination” when parking in the city.

Mar 07, 2016, updated May 17, 2016
An electric Renault Twizy plugged into a charging point in London. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

An electric Renault Twizy plugged into a charging point in London. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Discount car parking for electric powered and low emission vehicles would be implemented before the end of the year under a plan by the Adelaide City Council.

The council’s draft strategic plan 2016-2020, currently out for consultation, also flags a feasibility study into installing electric car charging bays across the CBD by 2017.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese told InDaily the council wanted to implement “huge … positive price discrimination” to encourage people to buy electric and low-emissions vehicles – part of the council’s goal to make the city carbon neutral by 2025.

Haese said the measures would constitute “tangible … instant gratification” for South Australians who purchase “green” cars.

But the size of the discount – along with the specific vehicle types that would be eligible and how the discount scheme would be administered in city U-parks – is yet to be decided.

Haese also conceded that the discount parking would mainly benefit wealthy city users “in the short term”, because low-emissions and electric vehicles are relatively expensive, and that the number of electric cars currently on South Australian roads was “not large”.

But he said that would be “a very short term phenomenon” because low emissions vehicle prices were falling, and would reduce “exponentially” over time.

The cost of batteries used in in electric cars – also used in solar systems – is rapidly falling.

“We have to get the volume of these vehicles up to get the price down,” said Haese.

“We need to get the prices of electric vehicles down as quickly as possible.”

Haese said that having electric cars lining up along Adelaide streets, plugged into electric charging units, would “send a strong visual signal” to encourage South Australians to purchase low-emissions cars.

 A council spokesperson told InDaily that the number of electric vehicles using the Adelaide CBD was unknown, “but there are at least 150, though not all of these are family cars”.

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“In a very general sense electric vehicles are likely to contribute significantly to council’s aim to be a carbon neutral city, and this project is about looking at interventions we can take to influence their uptake,” the spokesperson said.

“Council has set the aspiration to reduce parking costs for the use of electric powered and low emission vehicles within the city and how this can be achieved will be scoped in 2016/17.”

The draft strategic plan says the objective is to provide parking discounts for low-emissions vehicles “by 2016”.

There are currently four electric car charging points in the CBD: two at the Central Market U-park and two at the Grote Street U-park. More than 1100 electric vehicles were sold in Australia in 2014.

Haese said the council would lose some car parking revenue for the “worthy” cause of low-emissions transport.

He said “the ambition would be to have all of our [off-street] car parks [include] electric charging points” and that the council would be implementing a broad suite of measures to force emissions from city transport down.

The strategic plan also flags a change to the council’s procurement practices that would “reasonably require the environmental track record and/or credentials of  suppliers and estimates of carbon emissions of products and services”.

“You need to pull quite a number of levers to achieve that [carbon neutral city] goal,” said Haese.

Haese said during his election campaign in 2014 that he would offer city residents and businesses discounts on parking in the city.

He admitted this morning that no progress had been made on that front.

Consultation on the council’s strategic plan ends April 4.

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