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Melbourne Water begins transition to zero emissions vehicle fleet

With the aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, Melbourne Water has begun its transition to becoming a zero emissions vehicle fleet within 10 years.

Melbourne Water Procurement Manager Rod Clifford said the utility’s first two Renault Zoe electric passenger vehicles mark the beginning of its transition.

“Melbourne Water will no longer purchase any additional combustion engine vehicles where a zero emissions electric vehicle alternative is available,” Clifford said.

“By 2023, all our passenger vehicles will be zero emissions closely followed all our light commercial vehicles, all at no additional cost to the community we serve. We expect to purchase another three zero emissions cars this year and ramp up our rollout quickly from there.”

Clifford said while the utility is proud to be “the first in Australia” to take on such a commitment, the plan definitely poses a few challenges.

“The biggest hurdle for us as an early adopter is acquiring zero emissions dual cab utes, as petrol and diesel utes currently make up two-thirds of our fleet,” he said.

“Electric-only utility vehicles are not yet available, but they are coming. We will be purchasing these aggressively from 2022 and we expect Melbourne Water will be one of the first companies to order these types of vehicles in Australia.”

Furthermore, Melbourne Water personnel will be trained in the use of electric-only vehicles and the new fleet will be prioritised for use until more become available.

“Driving an electric vehicle for the first time is a unique experience, due to the lack of engine noise and the immediate acceleration, so we will be training our staff to be aware of these differences,” Clifford said.

“During the transition to a zero emissions fleet, Melbourne Water staff will be encouraged to always book one of the new vehicles over a combustion engine vehicle if one is available.”

Clifford said the investment is a “no-brainer”, with the utility stepping up to take its commitment to sustainable and environmentally-friendly living seriously.

“Melbourne Water is all about enhancing life and liveability through healthy people, healthy places and a healthy environment, so a bold transition to a zero emission fleet makes sense for us,” he said.

“Our existing fleet of petrol and diesel vehicles travel around 11 million km per year and emits approximately 2752 tonnes of CO2, so we’re committed to reducing these emissions, eventually all the way to zero.

“We’re excited to take delivery of our first zero emissions cars, as it means we only have 362 to go.”