The City of Swan plans to include up to 4 new electric vehicles into their fleet in the next financial year, after the completion of the Western Australian Electric Vehicle Trial which was conducted by CO2 Smart in conjunction with the University of WA.
As one of 11 fleet participants in the two year trial, City of Swan incorporated a fully electric vehicle into their car pool, which was used by staff members for work related journeys.
City of Swan Mayor, Charlie Zannino, said participating in the trial provided insight into infrastructure and logistical requirements while also highlighting benefits of electric vehicles.
The City has an ongoing commitment to support environmental sustainability for the community, and the use of electric vehicles, which have zero emissions and low energy usage
are of significant interest. Mr Colin Pumphrey, Manager Fleet & Waste Services, City of Swan, said, “Our interest started from our drive to reduce our fuel bill, which is well over
a million of dollars annually.
The trial showed a substantial operating cost advantage” said Mr Pumphrey. “Our staff make a lot of short, local trips, which is ideal for electric vehicles whose range is about 100kms comfortably.” A level 2 (Fast AC) charging unit was built at the City of Swan depot, as one of 9 around the city to re-charge vehicles involved in the trial. One of the issues noticed by staff was the need to plan journeys based on the range of the vehicle and the availability of charging stations, and the necessity to plug in the car upon return.
The vehicle used in the trial was a prototype, a Ford focus converted to electric technology by EV Works, a local Electric Vehicle innovator. The original engine in the car was removed and replaced with a customised electric one, which uses a bank of lithium iron batteries to store energy. Since the trial started, more production line electric cars have become available, and the City is now looking towards most likely using the Nissan Leaf to replace the current vehicle when it reaches the end of the standard 3 year turnover period.
Using electric vehicles is just one of the ways the City of Swan is trying to reduce fuel consumption and energy emissions generally. Solar powered water pumps have replaced fuel driven pumps in a number of locations, and battery powered surveillance systems which use the same technology as the electric vehicles have replaced diesel run systems.
The surveillance trailers are placed in public areas, and provide lighting and video surveillance to help dissipate anti social behavior. These areas are often not handy to mains
power, and previously noisy and high fuel use generators were required. The new trailers, built by EV Works, can be used for up to two weeks at time, before being returned to the depot for charging.
Mr Pumphrey said that the City would continue to look at new ways to become more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. “If local governments don’t support this new technology, who will?” he commented.