The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is supporting environmentally friendly technology by adding two new hybrid cars — a petrol engine combined with an electric motor — to its fleet of vehicles based at its head office at Kingston, Tasmania.

Launching the new vehicles today, the Director of the Australian Antarctic Division Dr Tony Press said that the AAD was committed to valuing and protecting the environment throughout its operations.

“As a Division of the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage, the AAD has a major focus on good environmental outcomes as shown by the installation of wind turbines at Mawson station in Antarctica. This has significantly reduced reliance on fossil fuel at the station.

“The AAD is constantly looking at every aspect of its operations to introduce clean, green technology wherever we can,” Dr Press said.

“Adding two new second-generation petrol/electric-powered Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles to the AAD fleet is just another example of our commitment to protecting the environment.”

The new Toyota Prius vehicles have about half the exhaust emissions of similar sized four-cylinder cars. Compared with the average car, fuel consumption drops around 15 per cent to 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres with the cars running on normal unleaded petrol.

“While the initial costs are still higher than comparable small cars, we believe the operational savings and environmental benefits now make these cars a natural addition to our fleet,” Dr Press said.

“As we continually monitor the environmental aspects of our operations here and in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic, we will be looking to introduce environmentally friendly technology wherever possible.”