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TAFE Queensland powers up its car fleet

TAFE Queensland has powered up its car fleet with electric vehicles to deliver on its green energy initiatives and has saved a lot of money in the process.

“Our fleet consists of 27 fully-electric vehicles, making it the largest EV fleet within the Queensland Government Sector,” said Steve Sandeman, Fleet Co-ordinator, TAFE Queensland.

“It includes Hyundai Konas, Nissan Leafs and Renault Kangoo vans, each saving us thousands of dollars in maintenance and fuel costs every year.”

The fleet was supplied by QFleet under a 36-month lease agreement at similar costs to an internal combustion fleet, but without the associated maintenance, fuelling or environmental costs.

Each vehicle in the electric new fleet comes with an electric motor, replacing the internal combustion engine. There’s also no fuel tank, no exhaust, and the majority of their wear and tear is in the easily replaceable tyres and brakes.

With virtually no engine maintenance required and a full battery charge costing less than $4 at a time, their running costs are only a third of the petrol cars they replaced, without any carbon or nitrous oxide emissions.

“In the last 12 months I’ve cut up dozens of fuel cards, each representing an annual saving of approximately $1,600, and that doesn’t include maintenance,” explained Steve.

Each car has a driving range of between 200km and 500km with a full charge, which ensures there is a car to get to any location in the greater Brisbane area and back again, ideal for staff to use when visiting campuses, clients or suppliers.

Once returned to their South Bank base, each EV is plugged into wall-mounted charging points and recharged overnight, ready for the next day’s commuting.

There are already charging points at Caboolture, Loganlea, Mount Gravatt and Bracken Ridge campuses with more being installed at the remaining campuses in the Brisbane area.

“Our uptake of EVs supports the government's commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Thorough utilising sustainable energy and not polluting fossil fuels, we’re contributing to a cleaner environment with cars that are better for the bottom line,” continued Steve.

While many staff had initial concerns about using electric cars for the first time, most are now comfortable when driving any of the new fleet.

“People were worried about batteries going flat and that they wouldn’t be able to recharge it again, but the range of these cars means they can easily get our people to where they are going and back again,” said Steve.

The fleet contributes to the other sustainable energy initiatives that TAFE Queensland has invested in to reduce its impact on the environment.

At its South Bank campus alone, electricity consumption is reduced thanks to a 100KW solar power system on a central building’s rooftop.

There are over 12,000 energy-efficient LED lightbulbs throughout the campus, with many car parking areas and bathrooms using sensors to switch off when not in use.

Motion detectors are also used within rooms on campus to activate air-conditioning only when people are present, with the culmination of these initiatives saving over 110,000kWh, and over $12,000 in energy consumption.

These enormous energy savings are complemented by TAFE Queensland's recycling efforts, which have also saved 338m3 of waste from landfill, composted almost six tonnes of food scraps, reduced over 25 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, and saved over 500 trees worth of paper.