Yarra Valley Water has announced plans to expand the number of electric vehicle (EV) chargers by more than 50 per cent at its head office in Mitcham. The utility aims to increase the current 14 chargers to a total of 22, with the potential to expand further and accommodate up to 46 chargers in the future.
Managing Director Pat McCafferty said the move was part of the organisation’s efforts to prepare for the future and become net zero.
“Our goal is to transition to a zero emissions fleet and we’re offsetting our emissions from vehicles in the meantime,” Mr McCafferty said.
“We’re transitioning our vehicle fleet to electric, purchasing only electric vehicles where fit for purpose from 2026,” he said. “With more zero emission vehicles on our roads everyone will benefit from healthier neighbourhoods and cleaner air.”
It follows the installation of three Tritium 75kW DC Chargers with dual charging capability, which can fast charge six cars at the same time.
Yarra Valley Water received funding from the Victorian Government’s Business Recovery Energy Efficiency Fund (BREEF) to support installation of the fast chargers.
Mr McCafferty said the new chargers will use renewable power generated from solar panels on our purpose-built solar carpark, saving time and money for staff and the organisation.
“The economics of electric vehicles are improving as purchase prices come down, combined with lower running costs,” he said.
“For every 100 kilometres, we’re currently using approximately $18 of fuel. When we switch to electric, it will cost approximately $3 for the same distance. So, it’s not only better for the environment, but there are significant cost savings as well.”
Installation of the EV chargers is part of Yarra Valley Water’s Climate Resilience Plan, which was launched last year. The plan explores the role Yarra Valley Water can play in reducing harmful carbon emissions. This aligns with the Statement of Obligations (Emission Reduction), which guides all 18 water corporations to net zero by 2035.
“We currently have 8 AC electric car chargers, with an output of 7.3kW, integrated into the solar car park installation. These stations take around 7 or 8 hours to fully charge a vehicle. “On the other hand, our DC fast-charging stations only take around 50 minutes to fully charge a car,” Mr McCafferty said.
Yarra Valley Water Communications Manager Rhiannon Matthews started using an electric vehicle in February 2020. As an early adopter, Ms Matthews says Australia is accelerating to an electric car future.
“When I first started using an electric car, there were very few people in Australia with an EV, but we’re starting to see a real shift in perceptions,” she said.
In 2022, Australia recorded 83,000 EV sales, compared to 6,900 in 2020, according to the Electric Vehicle Council.
Ms Matthews, who commutes from the Mornington Peninsula to Mitcham, says: “Having EV infrastructure readily available in the workplace has been an absolute game-changer. It provides the convenience of charging my electric vehicle during working hours and helps me to contribute to a greener and more sustainable future."