Four freight and transport industry groups have issued a joint call for the Australian government to develop and implement a National Zero Emission Truck Strategy.
The Electric Vehicle Council, Australian Trucking Association, Heavy Vehicle Industry Association and the Australian Hydrogen Council have combined forces to advocate for government direction and support beyond light vehicles, expanding the focus of the government’s recently launched National Electric Vehicle Strategy.
That strategy presents a “comprehensive roadmap" to allow Australians a better choice of electric vehicles and “encourage greater use of cleaner, cheaper-to-run vehicles,” according to the Australasian Fleet Management Association. However, the plan does not address zero emissions goals for heavy vehicles.
While applauding the government’s strategy and commitment to a fuel efficiency standard, the four groups believe “trucks and logistics will be left in the slow lane to decarbonization” if the government policy does not cover trucks.
In a joint statement, the industry groups noted “the freight and logistics transport sector contributes 38% of Australia’s transport emissions,” and pointed out government has not developed a plan to reduce the sector’s emissions.
“The Australian trucking industry faces significant barriers to the adoption of zero-emission trucks, including vehicle design rules, lack of electric truck recharging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure, and a temporary but significant higher upfront cost,” the statement reads.
Specifically, the industry collaboration asks the Australian Government:
- Develop a national zero emission truck strategy.
- Sign the global memorandum of understanding on zero emission trucks, to set clear climate ambition for medium and heavy vehicles.
- Fix the regulatory barriers (i.e., width and axle mass limits) to zero emission trucks, to increase vehicle model supply.
- Increase investment in electric recharging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure for trucks.
- Implement a purchase price incentive for zero emission trucks
- Fund and implement an upskilling and reskilling plan to ensure the preparedness of the workforce to transition to a zero emission fleet.
“Australia relies on trucks to function, but right now those trucks need imported oil to keep moving. We don’t need to be this vulnerable because our truck fleet can run on renewable energy we make domestically,” said Behyad Jafari, chief executive, Electric Vehicle Council. “We just need to get the policy settings right. With the EV and the trucking industry agreeing on these principles, the government can act swiftly.”