EV target for SA Govt cars running out of charge

An “ambitious” plan to fully electrify the state government’s vehicle fleet by 2030 is unlikely to be met, with the Treasurer saying less than 2 per cent has been achieved so far.

Jul 03, 2023, updated Jul 03, 2023
Photo: AAP/Jason O'Brien

Photo: AAP/Jason O'Brien

An Electric Vehicle Action Plan approved by the former Marshall Government in 2020 aimed to transition the state’s vehicle fleet to electric by 2030.

But Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said the target was “more ambitious than most”.

Mullighan told an estimates hearing in Parliament last week that just 65 of the fleet’s 6,857 vehicles had the ability to operate as zero tailpipe emission vehicles – not even one per cent toward the 2030 target.

As such, it was unlikely the state government will meet the former government’s deadline.

“You cannot rule out anything in life, but on the current trajectory I am not sure that we will get there,” Mullighan said.

“We are all politicians – by definition, ambitious – and that particular target is, even to my mind, more ambitious than most.”

Over the last 12 months, the government purchased 1,625 cars, taking the fleet total to 6,857. Of that total, 3,864 qualify as low emission, including 2,100 hybrid vehicles.

Mullighan said EVs were far more expensive than their petrol counterparts, with a Hyundai Kona Elite electric model priced at $54,500 compared with a regular Kona at $26,900.

“Many battery electric vehicles are cost prohibitive, so they are above a price threshold that the fleet would normally pay for other fleet vehicles, but of course as technology improves and volume efficiencies are achieved it is expected price parity will occur sometime in the future,” he said.

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“We have maintained the stunning run rate achieved under the previous government of 1.3 per cent penetration of the fleet with these electric vehicles. That may increase as electric vehicles come into lower priced thresholds of the market and become operationally more deployable for even broader areas of government.

“I think making up the other 98.7 per cent of the performance we would need to get to 100 per cent in seven years would exceed even my extraordinary ambitions in this area.”

Mullighan added that there had been a number of changes in the government fleet, including ditching old sedan models the Treasurer felt were out of date aesthetically.

“We have also tried to transition the gaudy faux Bentley-looking sedans out of the parliamentary and ministerial fleet for something a little bit more in keeping with the government’s expectations of the fleet, and we will continue to make further changes to the fleet in the future,” he said.

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