Opinion

Australia’s future trucks are common sense

One of the key factors to lasting in any business is the ability to change as new innovations come onto the horizon. For example, Big Rigs is available in different formats such as online and in print. The Australian Trucking Association is also constantly looking to the future and we believe one of the most exciting opportunities is electric trucks. 

This is an urgent issue because Australia is falling behind most of the world. Of the 58 electric truck models available in North America, Europe, and China, only 14 are available to the Australian market. 

To tackle this, we have teamed up with the Environmental Vehicle Council on a report called Electric trucks: Keeping Shelves Stocked in a Net Zero World.

This landmark report calls for urgent policy reform to enable trucking operators to make increased use of electric trucks.  

It examines the transition to electric trucks to reduce transport emissions, reduce freight costs and improve fuel security.

We know that electric power will make it far cheaper to run a truck. 

Fuelling a diesel truck for 300km will cost a trucking business around $117, but charging an electric truck for 300km will cost just $18. 

The electric truck is approximately 85 per cent cheaper on energy costs.

Of course, we understand that trucking operators face a number of barriers to buy and use an electric truck.

And we also understand that electric trucks may not be a viable option for every trucking operation, however we need to boost the number of electric trucks in urban and other appropriate settings. There will also be a critical role for hydrogen fuel cell trucks for longer distance and heavier transport tasks. 

The reality is that if Australia gets left behind on the transition to electric and zero emission trucks, we risk our supply chains and exporters getting stuck with high, globally uncompetitive per km freight costs.

Key recommendations in the report include: 

• Truck width should be increased to align with standards used by major supplier economies (current width standards precludes many electric truck models from being used in Australia)

• One tonne concession for electric and zero emission trucks (Australia’s steer axle mass limit, currently 6.5 tonnes, is holding back the deployment of larger electric truck models due to the weight of batteries)

• Electric trucks to be exempt from urban curfews (electric trucks are much quieter and therefore do not require curfews)

• Mandate Euro VI emissions standards for new heavy vehicle models from 2024 (this would bring standards into force 3.5 years earlier than pro- posed in the government’s draft Regulation Impact Statement)

• Incentive payment to reduce the cost of installing charging infrastructure at depots

• Investment in public charging infrastructure to support on route electric truck charging

• Incentive payment to reduce the upfront purchase price difference between electric/zero emission trucks and internal combustion engine trucks (In California and Germany incentives are provided to reduce or eliminate the price difference for battery, fuel cell and trolley hybrid drive systems. The upfront purchase price of an electric truck can be double its diesel equivalent)

• Exempt electric and zero emission trucks from stamp duty

• Set sales target for zero-emission trucks of 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040 (this goal is to drive ambition and measure the success or failure of existing incentives)

To read more detail about the electric vehicle policy, visit truck.net.au.

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