Yarra Valley Water to expand solar car park to 22 EV chargers, up to 46 in the future

    Victorian Water Utility, Yarra Valley Water services around 2 million people and 60,000 businesses across a 4,000-kilometre area. Like many organisations, they are on a journey to zero emissions and have announced plans to expand the number of electric vehicle (EV) chargers at their headquarters in Mitcham, VIC.

    Yarra Valley Water is transitioning its vehicle fleet to electric, purchasing only electric vehicles from 2026 where they are available and fit-for-purpose (translation: Australia needs electric ute options).

    The goal is to transition to a zero-emissions fleet and until that’s possible, they are offsetting emissions from vehicles.

    With more electric vehicles joining its fleet, the company is increasing the number of chargers by more than 50%, increasing from the current 14 chargers available to a total of 22.

    Yarra Valley says they have the potential to expand this even further in the future and could accommodate up to 46 chargers. The car park is already covered in solar panels, with the renewable energy generated used to offset the power consumed at the site.

    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. We’re transitioning our vehicle fleet to electric, purchasing only electric vehicles where fit for purpose from 2026. With more zero emission vehicles on our roads everyone will benefit from healthier neighbourhoods and cleaner air.”

    Managing Director Pat McCafferty

    This announcement follows the installation of 3x Tritium 75kW DC Chargers with dual charging capability, which can fast charge 6 electric vehicles at the same time.

    Yarra Valley Water received funding from the Victorian Government’s Business Recovery Energy Efficiency Fund (BREEF) to support the installation of the fast chargers. The $31 million fund is now closed, but is helping 108 projects, where the funding provided goes to fund improvements in energy performance and help businesses reduce their energy bills.

    Similar projects were funded at Melbourne Water and Goulburn Murray Water, to assist in the installation of electric vehicle chargers as part of the Victorian Government’s EV Charging for Business Fleets.

    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.

    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.

    Managing Director Pat McCafferty

    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.

    Managing Director Pat McCafferty

    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.

    Yarra Valley Water Communications Manager Rhiannon Matthews

    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.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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