It turns out your local council spends a lot of time thinking about cars, and for good reason.
More than 60 representatives from across the Hunter met in Medowie on Thursday to learn about electric vehicles (EVs) in an important step toward net zero goals.
Hunter Joint Organisation's (HJO) program lead Kim Carland said the day was crucial for getting councils to think practically and collaboratively about what the future held.
"It's not just jumping straight into purchasing an EV. It's thinking about what is your existing fleet, how much fuel are they using and what are your movements," she said.
"We're right on a cusp. There's a lot of knowledge here today but there's also a lot to learn."
New Australian cars need to be entirely emission free by 2035 to hit a net zero target in 2050, Climate Council clean transport officer for the Cities Power Partnership Melinda Everett said.
To do that, she hoped the Hunter's ten councils would work together to pool assets and make the purchase of EVs more mutually accessible.
The workshop, which was a collaboration between HJO, the State government and the Climate Council, was the "first step" towards that.
New standards for EV chargers are soon to be implemented nationwide. The Climate Council are also awaiting a roll out of fuel efficiency standards in Australia, which all other OECD countries have.
These standards would mandate that new cars meet a standard for the maximum level of carbon dioxide they can emit per kilometre.
Bringing this in would help make cars "cleaner" and cheaper, in what Ms Everett described as an "important step" for councils.
"With strong fuel efficiency standards, an individual driver can save up to $1200 [a year]," she said. "It's even more pronounced from a fleet perspective."
Ms Everett said Australia had 91 kinds of battery electric vehicles available but in places like European Union, about 250 kinds are up for grabs.
"The challenges for councils are often to do with the availability," she said. "To have the types of vehicles that are able to do the job that they actually need. A good case in point is the need for electric vehicle utes, for example."
Some of the Hunter's larger councils already have EVs in their fleets. In Lake Macquarie, for example, there are 12. But rural councils hold concerns about price points, driving range and efficiency.
Muswellbrook Shire Council's sustainability officer, Tracy Ward, said staff members often drove hundreds of kilometres per trip. The council has a few hybrid vehicles in their fleet and Ms Ward said it was "necessary" to add more in working towards net zero 2050.
"The benefits of having events like this is that when people take the opportunity to drive a vehicle and get familiar with it, the concerns about EVs really full away. We've seen that time and time again," Ms Everett said. "It is a new way of how we are going to be driving going forward."