Ausgrid charges ahead with electric vehicle trial

Ausgrid CEO Richard Gross, acting manager of Ausgrid Fleet Garage Nicholas Mailath, Renault Australia's Matthew Howe, Ausgrid customer technology development manager Harley Mitchell

Ausgrid has taken delivery of two brand-new Renault Zoe electric vehicles as part of a trial to reduce operational and maintenance costs and explore carbon emission reductions.

CEO Richard Gross was on hand to receive the keys to the vehicles, which will join the company’s pool fleet.

“This is a small but important step. We are excited about the benefits electric vehicles could provide our business in terms of financial savings and environmental sustainability,” Mr Gross said.

“This is all about preparing for the future and spending responsibly while also lessening our impact on the environment and customers have told us in recent surveys that they want to see more investment in this area.”

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasts 17.7 per cent of all vehicles on the road in Australia will be electric-powered by 2036.

“With the technology continuing to improve and demand for these vehicles expected to grow we are committed to exploring how we can better support customers to connect electric vehicles to the electricity network,” Mr Gross said.

“This trial will give us a better understanding of our customer requirements in this area.”

Ausgrid selected two Renault Zoe’s, the most popular battery-powered car in Europe. It features a 41kWh lithium-ion battery and has a range of 400km before needing to be recharged.

Fast-charging facilities have been installed in our Sydney, Homebush and Newcastle sites that can recharge 80 per cent of the car battery in an hour.

Ausgrid will also purchase green energy to power the vehicles and offset any emissions.

“The vehicles aren’t just good for the environment they will also deliver financial savings as their ongoing running and maintenance costs are significantly lower than our current petrol vehicles,” Mr Gross said.

“Affordability is one of the leading concerns for our customers and any savings we are able to deliver will help us put downward pressure on power prices.”

In January, the Queensland Electric Super Highway (QESH) was officially opened.

Motorists can now drive electric vehicles all the way from Coolangatta to Cairns, and west from Brisbane to Toowoomba, thanks to the installation of charger stations at Townsville and Carmila.