The federal government’s ComCar fleet is to be transitioned to fully electric BMW cars, with the changeover to start in the next two months and be complete by the middle of next year.
The ComCar fleet currently includes 92 diesel BMWs and 45 hybrid Toyota Camry’s. The new vehicles – selected from a shortlist of 14 – will be the BMW iX xDrive40 electric SUV, along with a longer range variant known as the BMW iX xDrive50 electric SUV. These EVs sell retail for between $140,000 and $180,000.
“In line with the government’s commitment to deliver a low emissions vehicle target for the Commonwealth fleet, Comcar is transitioning its current fleet of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicle (EV) technology,” the Department of Finance said in a statement.
“Delivery of the new fleet is planned to commence from mid-2023 as the current BMW sedans reach the end of lease. It is expected that the new fleet will be fully implemented by mid-2024.”
The BMW iX40 and iX50 SUVs will be used to carry out all aspects of Comcar’s operations including general transport of parliamentarians and other clients, the parliamentary shuttle, and VIP/ Guest of Government visits and major events.
The BMW iX Vehicle won from an initial desktop assessment of 40 available plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) sedans and SUVs.
The final 14 BEVs that were chosen for closer and on-road assessments included the BMW iX3, Polestar 2, Genesis GV60, Genesis GV70, Kia EV6, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y and Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The government says Comcar assessed several factors, including battery consumption, charging capability, vehicle handling, manoeuvrability and performance in a variety of traffic conditions, driver and passenger comfort, ease of access for passengers, and luggage space.
It says that while the initial cost is higher than ICE equivalents, it expects savings in running costs, including fuel and maintenance.
It will also introduce EV charging at each of its state depots to support the EVs, although it is not clear if this will include charging stations at Parliament House in Canberra, which are notably absent, much to the frustration of EV-driving ministers such as Chris Bowen and Bill Shorten.
The current fleet of diesel and hybrid cars was introduced in 2020 – when an electric option was controversially left out. Comcar vehicles are typically leased for three years.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of The Driven, and also edits and founded the Renew Economy and One Step Off The Grid web sites. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years, is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review, and owns a Tesla Model 3.