New design rules provide pathway for electric trucks

ADR 80/04, which adopts Euro 6 and equivalent standards for heavy vehicles, has now been signed and can be accessed on the Federal Register of Legislation.

The new ADR will apply to newly approved M and N category vehicle models that have a GVM over 3.5 tonnes that was first supplied from November 1, 2024, and will also apply to all vehicle models supplied on or after November 1, 2025.

The advice from issued by the Land Transport Emissions and Environment Branch of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, says the new ADR also includes a pathway for electric vehicles to comply.

They suggest ADR 80/04 enables electric trucks “to operate at the same steer axle mass limits available to trucks complying with ADR 80/01 or later,” Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia said in a recent news release.

“The Commonwealth is also continuing to consider the introduction of new ADRs adopting Euro 6d for light vehicles in conjunction with improved fuel quality standards to reduce aromatics in petrol in addition to the reductions in sulphur agreed upon previously.”

In November 2022, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Water released a draft regulation impact statement for public comment (‘Better Fuel for Cleaner Vehicles’), which evaluated a range of options to reduce aromatics in petrol to enable the introduction of Euro 6d for all light vehicles.

HVIA chief executive Todd Hacking said earlier that the new ADRs are a win for industry and the entire Australian community.

“However, there is no resting on our laurels – once this legislation is in place, we need to keep the momentum up and ensure regulations and standards also accommodate the transition to zero emissions vehicles,” he said.

Euro 6 standards are already in place in the European Union and United Kingdom, and equivalent standards also apply in most developed countries, including the United States and Japan.

China and India have also recently adopted equivalent standards.

HVIA said that introducing Euro 6 will mean manufacturers must add the advanced safety and fuel-saving technologies to Australian models that other countries already have – notwithstandng the leadership of many manufacturers who have brought compliant powertrains and safety technologies to market, in spite of the lagging legislation.

“This will help improve safety outcomes, and contribute to our emissions reduction targets,” added Hacking.

One report suggested that the technology required to meet Euro 6 standards will increase the cost of supplying a new truck or bus to Australia by 3 to 5 per cent or $4000-$6000.

The regulator and National Transport Commission are also working with government and stakeholders on reforms to mass limits to ensure trucks with advanced safety and emissions do not risk a productivity penalty.

These changes are expected to be resolved before the new ADRs become mandatory.

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