Energy generator-retailer Origin will start offering business customers a fully-electric vehicle fleet service complete with charging infrastructure and carbon offsets, as it looks for ways to adapt to a rapidly changing energy market.
The energy giant’s bet on EVs follows similar, although more modest moves by competitor AGL, which started offering an EV conscription service to consumers last year. Both are scrambling to find alternative sources of revenue as their coal plants struggle to compete with new, cheap renewable energy sources feeding ever more zero-emissions electricity into the grid.
The new EV strategy will jump on the “net zero” zeitgeist spreading through corporate Australia. Teaming up with fleet management company Custom Fleet, it will offer companies a complete package, selling the service as “making the switch to electric vehicles easier for Australian businesses”.
Along with a fleet of electric cars, the package will include charging infrastructure, load management, and carbon credits to offset remaining emissions – allowing the company to claim it has a net zero fleet.
“Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 will require action across our economy, particularly transportation which is the third largest source of emissions in the country, making accelerating the uptake of EVs in Australia a crucial piece of the puzzle,” Origin’s head of future energy Tony Lucas said.
“Business fleets make up close to half of all new vehicles sales in Australia presenting a huge opportunity to reduce emissions, and the rationale for change becomes even more compelling when you consider EVs are cheaper to run, allowing Origin to help businesses to reduce their operating costs.”
Last month Origin reported its earnings had plummeted 98 per cent in the six months to December, mostly a result of low wholesale energy prices. Chief executive Frank Calabria warned the inevitable exit from coal could prove “messy”.
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James Fernyhough is a reporter at RenewEconomy. He has worked at The Australian Financial Review and the Financial Times, and is interested in all things related to climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.