The ACT government will today announce a suite of measures to encourage Canberra's drivers to move to electric vehicles, as part of the plan to make the territory emissions neutral by 2050.
Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Shane Rattenbury and Transport and City Services Minister Meegan Fitzharris will launch the government's "Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan," which covers both electric cars and electric bikes.
Under the plan the government has committed to half of newly leased government fleet passenger vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2019-2020, and all newly leased government passenger vehicles to be zero emissions by 2020-2021.
All new multi-unit and mixed-use developments will be required to have charging stations for electric cars.
The ACT government has pushed for the territory to use only renewable electricity by 2020, meaning that vehicles will become the territory's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases at about 60 per cent.
"The electric vehicle market is taking off globally and while that is outside of the ACT government’s influence, what we need to do is make sure that we’re putting in place all of the steps to prepare Canberra for the arrival of electric vehicles on a larger scale,” Mr Rattenbury said.
Starting later this year, hybrid and electric cars will be able to drive in transit lanes until 2023.
The ACT government will also consult with the NSW government and local councils to push for more charging stations to be installed on major roads, including toward Sydney and coastal areas.
There are less than 300 electric vehicles registered in the ACT at the moment, but that number is set to increase through the government's plan to move its fleet to electric vehicles.
"If we put in an order for 600-odd vehicles over the next couple of years that will be the largest electric vehicle order in Australia ever seen so far," Mr Rattenbury said.
"If we as the government take the lead and bring those vehicles in it will have the car manufacturers supply them more frequently and it also means that as they come out of the leasing system there will be more secondhand cars available for the community in the next couple of years."
The cost of the plan will mostly be covered in existing budgets, but the major expense will be installing charging stations at ACT government buildings to support the electric cars in the government fleet. That cost is not yet known and will be put out to tender.
Other measures in the plan include the opportunity for ACT government staff to salary sacrifice the purchase of an electric bike. The government will also investigate incentives to increase the take up of electric bikes.
In the 2016 census, 74.9 per cent of Canberrans said they drove to work, a five per cent increase on the 2011 census. Just over eight per cent of Canberrans rode to work, while 7.1 per cent said they used public transport.