TRANSFORMING transport across Hepburn Shire is the next step as the community continues to move towards its goal of zero net emissions by 2030.
An electric vehicle bulk buy was launched in the shire this week, in an effort to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible for community members and to cut fuel costs across the shire.
Hepburn Wind's community manager Taryn Lane, who was involved in the development of the shire's 10-year Z-Net community transition plan, said transport was responsible for 33 per cent of the shire's emissions in 2018.
"The idea behind developing a bulk buy is that there have been lots of people who expressed interest in electric vehicles to reduce emissions but didn't believe they were accessible due to the price point," she said.
With social justice a key priority as part of the Z-Net plan, meaning finding ways to make some of the new technologies more accessible and affordable for everyone in the community, a bulk buy seemed like an ideal solution to reduce transport emissions.
The Good Car Company, which will facilitate the Hepburn Bulk Buy, has already coordinated bulk buys for two communities in Tasmania.
Hepburn will be the first community taking part in the bulk buy on the mainland.
The company sources secondhand Nissan Leaf vehicles from Japan.
If the cars pass checks in relation to battery health, mechanics and general aesthetics, they are bought in bulk and transported to Australia. After a software change to English, the vehicle is delivered to its new owner.
A range of Nissan Leaf models will be available through the bulk buy, and can travel between 100 and 170km before they require a power boost.
The Nissan Leaf model has been in the market for a while and there are plenty of them, meaning it is easy to have it serviced and maintained on Australian soil - though electric vehicles require minimal maintenance.
Arguably the biggest draw card of the bulk buy is the price point of the vehicles, which can be purchased for between $17,000 and $35,000 each - significantly less than other electric vehicles in the market.
The Good Car Company's director and co-founder Anthony Broese van Groenou has been working in the renewable energy space for a number of years and is also at the tail end of writing a PhD on electric vehicle uptake.
The company began as he and two co-founders wished to source electric vehicles at a good price for themselves, and then all of their friends wanted one too, so it became a business.
"We just love the idea of being able to make a concentrated impact so doing it in communities means that we've got a saturation of electric vehicles, which sends a really strong policy message to governments," he said.
Mr Broese van Groenou said the bulk buy was a way to help people to transition to electric vehicles now, rather than waiting for them to be more widely rolled out in the market.
"Looking at the impacts of climate change at the moment, there is a need to act now and so every little thing that we can possibly do to make a difference is worthwhile doing," he said.
Looking at the impacts of climate change at the moment, there is a need to act now and so every little thing that we can possibly do to make a difference is worthwhile doing.- Anthony Broese van Groenou, The Good Car Company
While the number of electric vehicles currently being driven in Australia is small, there are grand opportunities for the future.
One is that due to electric vehicles essentially being batteries on wheels, if used with a bi-directional charge, energy could be discharged back into the home.
Once the regulatory frameworks are in place, the energy could also be discharged back into the grid to support the network.
The bulk buy will be available to all Hepburn Shire residents and Hepburn Wind members across the state. Before the bulk buy had launched, about 130 expressions of interest had already been filed.
Similar to the shire's solar bulk buy, there will also be a community bonus.
Hepburn Wind is also looking to be involved and hopes up to six new electric vehicle charging stations can be constructed across the shire as currently there are only three - at the Lake House, on Vincent St and at Lyonville.
An information session will be hosted on Thursday, April 30 from 6-7.30pm. There will also be an opportunity for a test drive.
More information about the bulk buy can be read at hepburnwind.com.au/ourprojects/
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