The Australian Government has announced the electric vehicle that will replace combustion-powered vehicles in its COMCAR fleet.

    The BMW iX xDrive40 and xDrive50 will replace the current fleet of BMW 6 Series GTs and Toyota Camry hybrids from mid-2023 as they reach the end of their leases.

    The Government says the new fleet of iXs will be fully implemented by mid-2024.

    The COMCAR fleet is used to carry out duties like transporting parliamentarians and VIPs, and for many years the Holden Caprice was used.

    COMCAR currently leases 92 BMW 620d GTs and 45 Toyota Camry hybrids, which were brought on fleet in 2020. Vehicles are typically leased for three years.

    With the Australian Government planning to transition its vehicle fleet to EVs, no combustion-powered vehicles were considered for COMCAR duties this time.

    COMCAR initially assessed 40 plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles, whittling the list down to 14 EVs for preliminary physical assessment.

    Subsequently, just nine vehicles were chosen for “practical off-road assessments on a closed-circuit track and on-road assessments in routine COMCAR operational scenarios”.

    These comprised the BMW iX and iX3; the Genesis GV60 and Electrified GV70; the Hyundai Ioniq 5; Kia EV6; Polestar 2; and Tesla Model 3 and Model Y.

    These assessments gave COMCAR a cross-section of feedback, with input also coming from the Australian Federal Police and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    Most of the fleet of iXs will be xDrive40 models, though a “small number” of xDrive50 models will be obtained “for long-range driving conditions”.

    Under the Commonwealth Fleet Vehicle Selection Policy, the new COMCAR fleet was required to comprise of low- or zero-emission vehicles, with a five-star ANCAP rating, that could meet “minimum ‘fit for purpose’ requirements”.

    It also called for vehicles that provided “value for money, including consideration of environmental and climate change impacts”.

    “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,” says the COMCAR team.

    “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.”

    The 620d GT retailed for $102,900 before on-roads back in 2020, while the iX xDrive40 is currently priced at $135,900 before on-roads and the xDrive50 is priced at $180,400 before on-roads.

    BMW has proved popular with government fleets.

    In 2014, the 7 Series became the Prime Minister’s official vehicle, accompanied by armoured X5s.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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