Victoria has become the first Australian state or territory to launch a permanent low/zero emissions road network, which will allow certain trucks to operate under a pre-approved permit.
The announcement was made this week by Victorian Minister for Ports and Freight, Melissa Horne at the Freight Decarbonisation Summit, hosted by the Department of Transport and Planning.
The news follows recently released trials in other states – including a new scheme in South Australia that permits low and zero emission heavy vehicles to exceed regulated axle load limits on state-managed roads; and NSW giving zero emission trucks, which weigh more than internal combustion engine trucks because of their heavier batteries, access to the state’s road network.
The Low/Zero Emission Heavy Vehicle (LZEHV) access map has been developed with the aim of simplifying the implementation of these vehicles on Victorian roads.
Access maps will reduce the need for structural assessments on a permit-by-permit basis for operators of approved vehicles – saving time and cutting red tape for operators.
The first map centres will be on a new Volvo electric semi-trailer, allowing the manufacturer to start offering this combination for use on the approved network by local operators to super-charge a shift towards more sustainable heavy vehicles.
The new low/zero emissions road network will allow Volvo heavy-duty electric trucks to operate under a pre-approved, three-year permit with a 7.5-ton steer axle weight concession on these routes.
With Volvo Group Australia currently being the only manufacturer to offer a full range of electric heavy vehicles, the company has been leading calls for the weight concessions for zero-emissions heavy vehicles to facilitate the adoption rate needed to meet Paris Agreement emissions targets.
“We’ve been very clear that without legislative changes such as these, we won’t as an industry meet the emissions targets that we are all working towards,” said Martin Merrick, president and CEO of Volvo Group Australia.
“I applaud the commitment shown by the Victorian Government by taking these steps. We’ve made our commitment to both industry and society that we will be at the forefront of zero-emissions transport, and I’m heartened to see government taking steps along this journey as well.”
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has also begun developing a Future Heavy Vehicle Roadmap to serve as a provide a blueprint for future planning.
According to the Victorian Government, the state has cut its overall emissions by more than any other state since 2014. It has set interim emissions reduction targets of 50 per cent against 2005 levels by 2030 and a 75-80 per cent reduction by 2035.