Isuzu Australia’s chief of strategy, Grant Cooper, has said that there is a “clear path to victory” on the road to zero emissions.
With road transport one of the main sources of carbon emissions in the country, he claims the issue is finally being tackled and no longer dismissed as a battle for another day.
“As a concept, a zero-emission future is as timely as it necessary, but we must explore and understand the appetite of Australian operators for turning it into a reality,” he said in a media statement.
A major part of Isuzu Australia’s product development strategy in recent years has been the commissioning of longitudinal research in the form of the Isuzu Future of Trucking (FoT) report.
This report presents findings from a survey of over 1,000 stakeholders within the trucking and road transport industry in Australia, who shared their views initially in 2019, and then again in 2023.
The research aims to discover emerging patterns in the sector post-pandemic, as well as insights that will likely influence the industry in the coming years.
The data also reveals sentiment around the appetite for a zero-emission future, as well as perceptions around electric vehicles in the Australian market.
The research shows that most Australian transport businesses are considering adopting a zero-emission strategy for their own truck fleets, with a huge 91% in favour.
However, only 10% of businesses are thinking about implementing a zero-emission strategy right now, whereas 70% are looking at implementing within a timeframe of two to five years.
“This is telling data on the industry’s readiness for the transition,” Cooper said.
“These findings are in line with other research we’ve conducted with some of the country’s largest road transport fleets. The ship is turning – albeit at a slower than desired pace for some.”
In terms of the strictly zero (tailpipe) emission methodologies fleets are considering, Battery Electric is overwhelmingly the preference, followed by Hydrogen Fuel Cell, and then the Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), which has gained a lot of momentum in the last few years.
About half of businesses agree that electric trucks are “reliable and suitable for Australian conditions”, have “strong residual value” and will play a “major role in the future of trucking”, according to Cooper.
The other half of those surveyed have concerns about the time it takes to charge an electric truck and their performance compared to a diesel-powered internal combustion engine.
Cooper said that there are a “great many theories” on how we can get to zero emissions, but Isuzu are focusing on electrifying the right trucks for the right tasks.
“This stands us in good stead to make a considered and sensible transition away from a reliance on internal combustion technology,” he added.
“The consensus remains that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are the most realistic and widely feasible form of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) able to be meaningfully applied in Australia, right now.
“That said, whilst the push toward ZEV is in train, it is not the sole goal.
“The commercial and economic realities of transport and logistics operations in this country and indeed around the world, coupled with the relative energy density of diesel by weight (compared to battery electric or other technologies for long-haul transport) mean ICE technology will remain with us for a while longer yet.”