Fix it or miss out: Tesla not happy

Tesla has joined the ATA in calling for an urgent change to size limits for zero and low emission trucks so its electric trucks can legally fit on Australia’s roads.

In a submission to the National Transport Commission’s Heavy Vehicle National Law Review, Tesla urged the government to change the rule, saying the Australian market’s small size would likely mean Tesla won’t bother with making adjustments should the regulations stay the same.

“The commission will be aware that given Australia’s small size in comparison to global markets, inconsistencies like this between Australian regulations and larger markets will delay or preclude vehicles coming to local markets,” the submission says.

“Currently, Australia will likely miss out on the first generation of electric heavy vehicles such as the Tesla Semi because of this.”

Tesla says it will deliver its first batch of mass Semi trucks this year, nearly four years after it unveiled the first prototype in November 2017.

The all-electric trucks have a range of between 483 to 804 kilometres, and energy consumption of less than 2 kWh per mile.

Austroads, the peak body representing Australia’s state and federal transport agencies, recommended increasing the limit by 50mm to 2.55 metres in a 2019 study.

There were concerns about the safety implications, and local manufacturers were afraid a rule change would hurt their business.

But Austroads countered by saying these concerns could be mitigated by mandating driver training and specific safety technologies (such as blind spot information systems and side under-run protection) and by supporting domestic manufacturing (transitional arrangements and subsidies to adapt processes).

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