Aussie bank bans petrol cars, urges more to go electric

One of Australia’s leading banks is about to make a sizeable investment in the future of electric transport.

One year after banning the purchase of new petrol vehicles, Teachers Mutual Bank has revealed plans to replace its entire fleet with electric cars and utes as part of a $2 million project.

The transition is expected to take less than four years in a move bank executives say should encourage other corporations, including larger banks, to make similar commitments.

Industry experts say that if successful, the bank’s commitment could help fuel Australia’s second-hand electric car market and speed up the country’s slow transition.

Corin Millais, who heads the bank’s socially responsible projects, said it stopped buying petrol and diesel vehicles in 2022 and would progressively replace its fleet with 31 Kia Niro electric vehicles and two electric utes by 2027.

The vehicles would be used by banking staff to visit members in rural and regional locations, he said, so the company had chosen vehicles with a range of more than 400 kilometres.

“We’ve got a national fleet of cars we drive all around the country and we will clock up a few million kilometres with these cars over time,” he said.

“We crunched the numbers about how much this would cost and electric vehicles are more up-front but you save about $8000 or $9000 a year in running costs. Even though they’re more expensive, they’re cheaper to run.”

As part of its $2 million investment, the bank will also install 10 vehicle-charging stations at branches in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane to be powered with solar energy.

Mr Millais said he hoped the commitment would show other Australian companies they could move to electric transport before 2030 and cut their emissions.

“About half a million cars a year are bought by companies,” he said.

“If they all switched to EVs, you would have millions of EVs on the roads as second-hand cars. This transition, which we all know we need, can happen faster.”

Fleet vehicles make up 52 per cent of all new vehicle purchases in Australia, a statistic that has seen most Australian governments commit to replacing petrol with electric vehicles.

The federal government, for example, has promised to adopt a net-zero public service fleet by 2030 and make 75 per cent of its fleet low-emission vehicles by 2025.

Australian Electric Vehicle Association national president Chris Jones said companies had been slower to make similar commitments and more education about EV cost savings, and their growing range and availability was vital to encouraging adoption.

“More companies need to be made aware of the options,” he said.

“Many of them don’t know they could easily slot an EV into their fleet.

“Recently the Queensland government bought a fleet of Teslas because they were available – they’re no longer seen as a luxury car but as a ‘Californian Camry’.”


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


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