COMCAR is transitioning its fleet to electric vehicle technology

Date published
22 May 2023

New COMCAR fleet

In line with the Government’s commitment to deliver a low emissions vehicle target for the Commonwealth fleet, COMCAR is transitioning its current fleet of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric vehicle (EV) technology. 

The vehicles that COMCAR has selected for the delivery of services are:

  • BMW iX xDrive40 (iX40) SUV
  • BMW iX xDrive50 (iX50) SUV (a longer-range variant)

Delivery of the new fleet is planned to commence from mid-2023 as the current BMW sedans reach the end of lease. It is expected that the new fleet will be fully implemented by mid-2024.

The BMW iX40 and iX50 SUVs will be used to carry out all aspects of COMCAR’s operations including general transport of parliamentarians and other clients, the parliamentary shuttle, and VIP/ Guest of Government visits and major events.

Vehicle selection process

The process to select new cars for any government fleet is guided by the Commonwealth Fleet Vehicle Selection Policy, which states that agencies must ensure the vehicle:

  • is a Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) for passenger vehicles, with the preference for a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV)
  • has a ‘five-star’ Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP)  rating
  • meets minimum ‘fit for purpose’ requirements
  • provides ‘value for money’, including consideration of environmental and climate change impacts.

COMCAR undertook an initial desktop assessment of 40 available plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicle (BEV) sedans and SUVs for potential use in a future fleet. Following the initial assessment, COMCAR selected 14 BEVs for a preliminary physical assessment. 

Nine vehicles were subsequently selected for practical off-road assessments on a closed-circuit track and on-road assessments in routine COMCAR operational scenarios.  The vehicles assessed were the BMW iX40, BMW iX3, Polestar 2, Genesis GV60, Genesis GV70, Kia EV6, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

COMCAR assessed several factors, including battery consumption, charging capability, vehicle handling, manoeuvrability and performance in a variety of traffic conditions, driver and passenger comfort, ease of access for passengers, luggage space and potential integration with the COMCAR Automated Resource System (CARS).

The practical assessments provided COMCAR with a good cross-section of feedback from technical tests, driver feedback, ‘real life’ use, as well as input from the Australian Federal Police and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

In assessing the vehicles, COMCAR adhered to the criteria in the Commonwealth Fleet Vehicle Selection Policy and had regard to COMCAR client and security requirements.

The overall assessment identified the BMW iX40 as the only vehicle that is suitable for all aspects of COMCAR’s operations including general transport of parliamentarians and other clients, the parliamentary shuttle, VIP/Guest of Government visits and major events.  For long-range driving conditions, COMCAR will also procure a small number of BMW iX50 SUVs to supplement the new BMW iX40 fleet.

New fleet savings

While the introduction of EVs into the COMCAR fleet will initially cost more than that of equivalent ICE vehicles, savings in the running costs, including fuel and maintenance are expected.

COMCAR is introducing EV charging capability in each of its state depots to support the operation of the new EV fleet and to avoid adding additional pressure on public EV charging infrastructure.

Current COMCAR fleet

COMCAR currently leases 92 BMW 620d diesel-powered sedans and 45 Toyota Camry Hybrid petrol-powered sedans for the provision of car-with-driver service to clients across Australia. The current fleet was introduced in 2020. COMCAR vehicles are typically leased for three years.

COMCAR complies with the Commonwealth Fleet Vehicle Selection Policy and leases vehicles through the Whole of Government fleet manager, sgfleet.