Friday, April 9, 2021

Community Panel recommends 21 actions for EV transition for Victoria to reduce Transport Emissions

Community Panel for Infrastructure Victoria on Transport Emissions. I was on this panel which had 211 Victorians (most age groups, Metro and Regional) and met online during late January to mid February 2021.

The 'Tackling Transport Emissions' Community Panel successfully worked together in a virtual environment to deliver 21 recommendations to Infrastructure Victoria using principles of a Just Transition, Equitable Access, and Shared Knowledge.

These recommendations have now been taken forward by Infrastructure Victoria to undertake a detailed technical review. This may include seeking out additional evidence or undertaking further analysis where required.

The reviewed recommendations will inform Infrastructure Victoria’s advice - to support the broader community to take up zero or low emissions vehicles sooner - to government in Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure strategy. This Strategy is planned to be released in mid-2021.

The community panel was titled 'Tackling transport emissions'. Some members felt the need to broaden the remit question's scope to include public and active transport. I was one of those people. Clearly the panel was misnamed and should have been titled 'Tackling the transition to net zero emissions by 2050 through zero emission vehicles' Of course transition to EVs is needed, but we also need to look at mode share change in behaviour for more public and active transport journeys, and urban and transport planning to change transport behaviours. Sadly this wasn't part of the remit.

"The transport sector is the second largest and fastest-growing source of emissions in Victoria. Nationally, transport emissions in the final three months of 2020 were almost back to pre-pandemic levels." reported Miki Perkins in the Age.

Nevertheless, I think the panel did important work on transition to EVs for Victoria. Here are the final 21 recommendations:

1. Advocate to local governments to change their fleets to electric vehicles. This demonstrates the commitment of the government to meet the emission target.

2. Create a state-wide charging network strategy. This strategy would set out a network of charging infrastructure across Victoria and the staging of its roll-out.

3. Deliver a broad community awareness and education campaign. This campaign could use a myth busting approach to address concerns around range, charging technology, battery life and reuse to support uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). The campaign could highlight the ongoing benefits of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) in reducing transport emissions as a response to climate change.

4. Establish Vehicle Emissions Standards. This is where the government sets specifications relating to the level of carbon dioxide emissions produced by internal combustion engines (ICE) and low emission vehicles.

5. Introduce planning controls that require new developments to install charging infrastructure. This will ensure charging infrastructure is a requirement of new developments and is considered as part the design.

6. Provide financial incentives to individuals to support the initial transition to low or zero emissions vehicles. This enables a just and timely transition by providing rebates, subsidies or low-interest loans.

7. Support the installation of electric vehicle charging point as part of the 'Solar Homes Program'. This supports households to integrate their EV charging with home-based energy capture through solar panels.

8. Provide electric vehicle charging stations at activity and town centres. This supports private vehicle drivers and the commercial sector to use charging infrastructure and contribute to the local economy. This includes the opportunity to create a new industry through hydrogen and leverage existing petrol station infrastructure.

9. Advocate to the private sector to lease low or zero emissions vehicles to employees. This will create further visibility of EVs and significantly reduce emissions from private fleets.

10. Introduce planning controls that require electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new car parks. This will ensure charging infrastructure is provided as a minimum standard in all new developments.

11. Support the integration of energy capture through solar panels and storage in batteries. This relates to all types of buildings to reduce reliance on the electricity transmission network powered by fossil fuels to create a closed loop system for charging EVs.

12. Provide incentives for taxis, rideshare vehicles and courier vehicles to use low or zero emissions vehicles. This will support reduction of transport emissions and provide more opportunities for people to experience EVs.

13. Provide subsidies to reduce the cost of installing home charging infrastructure. This relates to any infrastructure required at home to charge the EV.

14. Build professional and business knowledge to instil zero-emission workforce and commerce. This relates to a smooth transition of ICE workforce and commerce to an EV workforce and commerce. Current EV commerce relies heavily on overseas ideas, technologies and services. This advice includes initiatives that will create commercial pathways that will build zero emission communities and economies. This will have a ripple effect on associated industries and workforces.

15. Introduce a Vehicle Emissions Scheme. This is where individuals enjoy a rebate or pay a surcharge depending on their vehicles emissions in relation to a vehicle emissions standard.

16. End the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030. This is intended to send a clear signal to broader community and market that transition to EVs is required in order to meet emission reduction targets.

17. Introduce a means tested loan scheme for purchasing low or zero emissions vehicles. This is intended to ensure those who have lower levels of resources to transition to an EV are supported.

18. Create an independent vehicle cost comparison website. This will help buyers make better decisions using independent information.

19. Create a trade-in scheme for internal combustion engine vehicles. This would incentivise community members to transition sooner.

20. Mandate a standardised charging connector for use across Victoria. This would ensure equity of access to charging infrastructure that is not dependent on car model.

21. Undertake community engagement to inform the strategic planning of electric and hydrogen vehicle infrastructure. This would build community knowledge and awareness about what is happening now and to bring people on a journey as future technology develops.

References:

Community Panel Report: https://www.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Tackling-Transport-Emissions-Community-Panel-Report-April-2021.pdf

Article in The Age: Victorian focus group backs ban on sale of petrol cars by 2030 as part of electric vehicle push https://www.theage.com.au/environment/climate-change/victorian-focus-group-backs-ban-on-sale-of-petrol-cars-by-2030-as-part-of-electric-vehicle-push-20210407-p57h3c.html

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