A car that can help a tree grow? Only in Merri-bek! (Media Release)

Cars and trees don’t have much in common, but in Merri-bek on Schools Tree Day, both are working towards saving our environment.

Moreland Primary School students joined with Merri-bek Mayor Cr Natalie Abboud on Friday 26 July to plant trees at Allard Park on Schools Tree Day.

And Toyota’s hydrogen fuel powered Mirai played a key part, the water that is the only waste produced by the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle used to water the new trees.

“We love working with our local schools and community groups to support their climate action activities,” said Cr Abboud.

“Schools Tree Day is a great initiative, backed by Planet Ark and Toyota, that inspires students to learn about and care for their local environment.

“Council is also active in the environmental sustainability space with initiatives to increase our tree canopy and our open space, move towards sustainable transport options and reduce our waste and carbon emissions, just to name a few.

“Our current trial of the Mirai, in partnership with Toyota Australia, takes us further on our path to a zero-emissions transport future.”

Council is partway through an eight-week real-world trial of the Mirai. The trial complements Council’s 14 electric fleet vehicles which are fuelled by 11 private charging stations. Council has also established 10 public electric vehicle charging stations including two DC fast charge stations for the Merri-bek community to use.

Additionally, all of the electricity Council uses is carbon neutral, powered by the Crowlands windfarm which was built through the bulk buying power of the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.

“We know that transitioning to a zero-emissions fleet will result in operational cost savings, improvement in local air quality and health benefits and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; Council is embracing battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles as the way forward,” Cr Abboud said.

Since June 2018, Council’s Vehicle Policy mandates all new light vehicle purchases meet the zero emissions standard first, then an emissions standard so stringent that some leading Hybrids fail to meet it.

Considered one of the most progressive vehicle policies in the nation, it sets standards in excess of those being considered by the national government for adoption in 2025.