Ergon Energy and Mitsubishi Motors Australia have announced a partnership that will see eight electric vehicles (EVs) join the regional electricity distributor’s passenger fleet this year.

The company is also finalising a lease offer to employees that could see up to a further 100 EVs taken on for private use later in the year.

Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy and Water Supply, Mark Bailey announced the partnership..

“The de-carbonisation of transport is in the long-term interests of Queensland, and businesses like Ergon Energy, so it is gratifying to see partnerships like this,” Mr Bailey said.

“Initiatives like this also usher in new energy demands and that fits with Labor’s renewable energy agenda.”

Ergon Energy Chief Executive, Ian McLeod, said an agreement between Mitsubishi Motors and Ergon Energy underscored Ergon’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions and embrace emerging technologies.

“Ergon Energy, as a forward thinking electricity distributor believes that wider adoption of EVs will happen,” Mr McLeod said. “This is a journey to which we are committed, and we’re very excited to be now firmly in the driver’s seat as well.”

“Mitsubishi Motors is pleased to be able to support Ergon Energy and its efforts to raise awareness of electric vehicle technology and environmental sustainability,” said Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, Mitsubishi Motors Australia CEO.

“The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is the world’s first Plug-in Hybrid SUV.  Ergon Energy’s fleet of Outlander PHEVs will be versatile, comfortable and robust enough to travel almost anywhere in Queensland’s unique countryside, all while helping Ergon Energy spend less money on fuel and reduce its environmental impact.”

Eight Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) will be based in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Mackay, Maryborough and Toowoomba.

“As an electricity distribution utility that services 97 per cent of that state we see a logical connection between operating EVs and the power we reliably and safely provide to customers each and every day,” Mr McLeod said.   

“This is the future. We are witnessing how advances in battery technology and automobile design are increasingly resulting in more environmentally friendly, affordable and efficient options for road users in regional Queensland,” he said.

The latest incorporation of the eight Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs continues Ergon’s association with EVs which began in 2012 when the utility ran a ground-breaking 18-month trial involving Mitsubishi i-Miev vehicles in Townsville.

“We predict EV adoption will increase network utilisation, and further help put downward pressure on network prices so we want to ensure the most efficient connections for customers. We also know that EVs will require efficient connections – both in the home and where on-road infrastructure is available,” Mr McLeod said.

In July this year Ergon Energy announced its retail business was working with government and industry to help create an electric vehicle (EV) highway with Australia’s first solar-powered fast-charging station for EVs to be established in Townsville.  Through Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) and with Ergon’s support, the State Government is seeking expressions of interest to build a service station in the Townsville suburb of Oonoonba that has both traditional and alternative forms of energy.

Ergon Energy said it will offer the business owner the opportunity to sign up to its business solar service which will avoid the need for up-front costs and provide access to 25kW of solar panels while EDQ will provide support for EV charger equipment leasing.

Ergon Energy and Mitsubishi Motors Australia are at the final stage of fine-tuning the lease offer for the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) for Ergon Energy employees.

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