The City of Sydney has voted unanimously for a plan that will set the city on a path to cleaner air and more peaceful streets, and a rapid uptake of electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure.
The key parts of the council strategy include doubling EV chargers in council car parks, trialing low-impact on-street charging infrastructure, and a comprehensive project to help retrofit existing buildings with chargers.
The city of Sydney will also accelerate the transition of its own light and heavy vehicle fleet to full electric, and boost the capacity of its depots to absorb EVs.
The plan, however, falls short of many European cities who have announced bans or premiums on fossil fuel cars, and in some cases will not allow new tax or Ubers to be on the streets unless fully electric – as Hamburg has recently announced.
Other key actions arising from the new plan include:
- Encouraging public rapid charging facilities in car parks and service stations
- Increasing the capacity and number of electric chargers in City-controlled car parks
- Working with Ausgrid to trial low-impact on-street charging in locations without off-street options
- Updating planning controls to encourage and support charging capacity in new buildings
- Conducting a comprehensive research project to understand the challenges and opportunities of retrofitting existing apartment buildings with chargers
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said reducing private vehicle dependence while supporting the electrification of vehicles would help lower transport emissions and reach the City’s net zero targets.
“If we are to stop dangerous runaway climate change, we need to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible. Lowering transport emissions, which are currently around 20% of all our emissions, will be crucial to this task,” the Lord Mayor said.
Moore said that while EV uptake is important, there are many ways to decarbonise transport:
“Reducing private vehicle dependence is the most effective way to cut emissions, so we remain focused on delivering our comprehensive bike network, supporting ambitious public transport projects and ensuring our city is a pleasant and accessible place to walk to, from and around,” she said.
City committed to tacking the hard problem of retrofitting apartments
Although the City of Sydney will now use its planning controls to make sure all new developments are EV ready, it is also committing to tackling the more complex issue of retrofitting existing apartment blocks.
“In the city context, where over 75% of people live in apartments, strata charging presents a real opportunity to make a significant dent in our charging needs, but it’s complicated,” Moore said.
“Many of these apartments have off-street parking spaces and we know that most of them will look to charge their electric vehicles in those spaces.
“The more who can, the less spillover there will be into other charging systems. But owners corporations need to juggle complex metering, demand management and efficiency, safety standards and insurance and of course, questions over who pays and how.
The City of Sydney also stated it will advocate and support the critically important federal fuel efficiency standards, the detail of which is currently being determined.
Daniel Bleakley is a clean technology researcher and advocate with a background in engineering and business. He has a strong interest in electric vehicles, renewable energy, manufacturing and public policy.