Opinion

Investing in the journey towards electromobility: new year wish list

electromobility

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) and our members have been invested in the journey towards electromobility for years; attendees of the Brisbane Truck Show have been intrigued by the emergence of new technologies on display when the doors to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest showcase of on-road transport equipment opens every two years.

In the last 12 months, however, there has been a crucial tipping point – a juncture where supply and demand factors are beginning to converge: the OEMs unveiling advanced technology ready for mass production – fleet operators intently engaging – and their customers actively committing to reduce their carbon footprint across all areas of their business.

While you might respond fairly with “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” – it isn’t quite as simple as that.

The heavy vehicle industry is developing zero and low emissions vehicles powered by both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains. Battery electric will probably dominate the back-to-base (or last mile) fleet, whilst hydrogen is more likely to power linehaul and larger heavy-duty vehicles.

In both cases the supply of that energy and the infrastructure to support it are still a long way behind where the technology is sitting right now.

2021 has seen an unprecedented interest in green energy from investors and government. That means there is now capacity to really step up our ambitions to begin rolling out zero emissions vehicles.

If there is one thing that 2021 has taught us, however, it is not to go blindly into these things without considering the risks, and Australia’s capacity and ability to stand on our own two feet.

There is a challenging economic balance too.

Before the roll-out can happen in earnest, there are a range of significant common challenges that will require a coordinated and strategic approach to resolve.

It is only then that the marketplace will be able to evolve purchasing decisions from whether to consider zero emissions trucks to which zero emission truck.

HVIA is taking a coordinated and collaborative approach to assist the heavy vehicle industry’s transition to a heavy vehicle fleet progressively dominated by battery electric (BEV) and fuel cell electric (FCEV) zero emission trucks.

HVIA has already begun to harness the experience and expertise of members and external stakeholders to identify and resolve issues such as standards, legislative and access requirements, workplace and operational safety, maintenance, technical and emergency support, skills and training, and energy supply including infrastructure and grid capacity.

In turn, the removal of those obstacles will serve to build the value proposition and hasten the uptake of zero emission heavy vehicles in Australia.

Todd Hacking is the CEO of Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia.

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