Though the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) welcomes the release of the Government’s Future Fuels Strategy, it says more needs to be done to assist operators wanting to buy zero emission trucks.
ATA chair David Smith says The Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy recognises the importance of technology, choice and industry investment as keys to reducing transport emissions; but emissions can only be reduced through the investment decisions made by transport businesses.
“We welcome the government’s focus on backing the industry to make those choices, rather than hitting businesses with more taxes and charges,” he said.
The expanded $250 million Future Fuels Fund will include a focus on electric recharging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, heavy and long-distance vehicle fleets and commercial fleets.
“The strategy is an important first step, but the Government should support the take up of both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks,” Smith added.
“About a third of road freight in Australia is moved in our major cities. Battery electric trucks are available right now. Australia needs a plan to accelerate their uptake.
“It is critical that the roll out of electric recharging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure supports trucks, including in trucking depots, on freight routes and in urban hubs.”
Smith says it’s time to remove the red tape. “The Government needs to remove regulatory barriers that are reducing the availability of zero emission trucks, including our truck width rules which are out of step with both Europe and North America.
“Providing a purchase price incentive would also bring forward the point where zero emission trucks are cost competitive, and ultimately give industry greater choice to reduce emissions and embrace the economic opportunities of zero emission trucks.
“In California, vouchers of up to US$120,000 have resulted in more than 7500 zero emission and other clean trucks and buses entering service, which is 7400 more than we have on the road in Australia.
“Zero emission trucks are not only critical for reducing emissions. They are a huge opportunity for any business that invests in them, with lower maintenance costs, lower fuel costs, the potential for curfew free operations and better conditions for drivers,” Smith said.
The ATA in partnership with the Electric Vehicle Council is developing a policy report on electric trucks.