With a remit to create a strong and liveable NSW including a focus on regional industries, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has its work cut out as it supports communities across the state from its many metropolitan and regional offices scattered throughout NSW.
The Department’s vehicle fleet reflects its diverse responsibilities and totals over 2,400 vehicles, the majority of which are light commercial. Even with the range of different use cases however, this hasn’t stopped DPIE from jumping on board the EV movement with a growing number of electric cars coming online in their fleet, even in some of the more remote parts of NSW.
Driving the Department’s venture into EVs is John Barlow, DPIE’s Senior Manager Fleet Operations. We sat down with John to understand DPIE’s thinking on going electric, what they’ve been up to in transitioning their fleet and what’s next in store for this future focused department.
John, DPIE is charging ahead in integrating EVs into your fleet. How have you secured internal support from management and staff more broadly for the transition?
DPIE is a very progressive department when it comes to initiatives to optimise our fleet.
The successful introduction of EV’s into the fleet is due to the support from senior management to not only lease the EV’s but more importantly agreeing to invest in the infrastructure needed to support the vehicles.
Buy in has come through the benefits identified through the EV’s including reduced serving costs, being zero emissions as well as the driving range of the vehicles when fully charged.
We’ve used a number of different communication streams to support staff in the use of the vehicles. Fleet have made a video about the use of the Kona that has been circulated to staff, information has been placed in all vehicles and we have conducted interviews with different drivers around their experience in driving the EV that have been posted on the department’s Workplace by Facebook page.
What does DPIE's vehicle fleet look like today and how do you expect this to change in future?
DPIE has over 2,400 vehicles in our fleet, with over 60% in the light commercial category.
At present we have 14 full EV’s in our fleet as well as 13 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
In regards to charging infrastructure we have placed fast chargers at a number of regional locations where we have large numbers of pool vehicles. This includes Orange, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth, Menangle and Maitland.
DPIE has recently moved into a new government hub in Parramatta that has a number of EV chargers installed. There’s also a new government hub being built in Newcastle that DPIE will be a part of that will have charging infrastructure installed.
We also have trickle charging available at sites in Yanco and Port Stephens.
The access to existing infrastructure and the further rollout of charging stations recently announced in the partnership between NRMA and Transport for NSW in regional locations will see DPIE increasing the number of EV’s in our fleet where we can.
What do you look for when selecting an EV for your fleet and what process do you follow?
As a government department we are required to purchase vehicles that are on government contract. The other critical criteria in selecting a suitable EV to what are predominantly regional locations was the range of the vehicle.
When looking at the vehicles on contract, the Hyundai Kona met all of our requirements, including the ability to travel 450km’s on a single charge.