Industry Issues, Transport Features

How Origin is helping businesses transition to EVs

Partnerships with agencies like ARENA have helped Origin support businesses looking to make the zero-emissions transition

Carbon emissions in the local transport industry continue to be a major talking point. A recent report by the federal transport and infrastructure department has found that transport sector emissions have grown by 19 per cent since 2005. With transport accounting for 21 per cent of Australia’s emissions last year, heavy vehicle manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have started to put more attention into electric vehicles (EVs). 

It has also led to energy companies, such as Origin, developing more solutions to help support businesses transitioning to EVs. Fujitsu has been the most recent company to turn towards Origin. 

Last month, Fujitsu announced that the two companies have come together to help bring EVs into its operational vehicle fleet. Origin’s eMobility head of sales David Helmy says the partnership is an exciting proposition for the two companies. 

Image: Origin Energy

We’re at a stage where environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments are becoming more prevalent and the ability to help organisations such as Fujitsu deliver on those commitments is something that’s at the forefront of our mind,” Helmy told ATN. 

As part of the new partnership, Fujitsu has signed on as a launch customer of Origin’s 360 EV Flex Plan. Fujitsu says the relationship forms part of its journey towards achieving zero operational emissions by 2030 while enabling it to access the NSW government’s EV fleet incentive. 

Through Origin’s flex plan, Helmy says subscribers can gain access to a wide range of EV models, including from BYD, MG Motors, Tesla and BMW and have the added flexibility to return/swap these vehicles. Customers like Fujitsu can also trial EVs on a short-term basis as well as access a team of EV consultants to support them. 

Helmy says making the switch to electric has been interesting for Origin as the vehicle type requires more additional skills to operate than a traditional vehicle. While Origin continues to learn more about the technology, Helmy says Origin sees itself as an enabler in the EV market. 

“With this plan, it’s very much about helping organisations to identify where it’s feasible to transition to EVs, to implement trials that get real-life datapoints, and from those datapoints to help build a strategy for electrification and deliver on customers objectives,” Helmy says. 

Fujitsu may have signed up to Origin’s EV Flex Plan as an initial customer, but Helmy says it has supported many organisations in their transition to EVs through alternate plans. Origin has helped nearly 100 customers so far transition to EVs according to Helmy. Recently, more corporate companies have started to turn to Origin’s EVs as they begin to set sustainability standards within their operations and fleets. 

He also says the vast majority of companies have made a secondary commitment to receive more electric vehicles. It’s an approach that Fujitsu has taken on board in its initial investment, leasing five vehicles across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. 

The transition for these companies has been made simpler through factors such as the fringe tax benefit exemption for EVs by the federal government in July 2022. Helmy says Origin is also able to provide fleets with subsidised chargers to ensure a smooth transition. 

Origin’s Accelerate EV Fleet Program has been boosted by its partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), who have allocated 1,000 chargers to Origin worth nearly $6.2 million. 

“We know the capital cost of infrastructure has been a barrier,” Helmy says.  

“With our program, we’re able to give businesses the vehicles and the subsidised chargers.” 

Helmy says one of the biggest issues for its partners has been how to reimburse employees for charging EVs at home. As an energy provider, Helmy says Origin can credit the energy generated when charging through customers’ electric bills. 

As more companies turn towards transport solutions to reduce emissions, Origin will continue to provide them with solutions to help them turn towards the electric path. 

“The appetite is there, I think the big thing for businesses is how do they take the first step – that seems to be the big barrier,” Helmy says.  

“That’s where companies like us, who have been doing this for a long time, can help. 

“We’ve helped about 100 organisations transition to EVs and we’ve been able to share our experience and tailor solutions according to operational requirements.” 

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