Multiple transport industry bodies have joined forces to demand the Federal Government create and enforce a zero emissions strategy with heavy vehicles in mind.
This comes off the back of the government’s first National Electric Vehicle Strategy launched last week which, critics argue, needs to go beyond light vehicles.
The freight and logistics transport sector contributes 38 per cent of Australia’s transport emissions but so far is without a clear, multi-level plan to tackle it.
“We need to move from one-off pilot projects to a strategy that enable all trucking operators to plan with certainty for low and zero emissions,” said Samuel Marks, Sustainability and Future Transport Manager for the Australian Trucking Association, before adding that the country is at risk of falling behind other countries.
Marks also pointed out that financial incentives to create cost parity between electric and diesel vehicles is now common in the United States.
Fiona Simon, Chief Executive of the Australian Hydrogen Council, agreed, noting the situation has now become critical.
“There is a cost of not acting,” she said. “Heavy vehicle transition is already naturally delayed, compounded by the timeframe they remain on the road and regulatory barriers. It is with absolute urgency that a comprehensive low emissions trucks strategy be developed.”
The concerned industry groups are also being backed by retailers who say a lack of support inevitably means their zero emissions delivery goals are at risk.
“We are committed to achieving 100 per cent zero emissions delivery by 2025, but we can’t do it alone,” said Alexandra Kelly, Zero Emissions Delivery Lead for IKEA Australia.
“More is needed to build confidence in the sector that now is the time to electrify.”
The group of concerned sector members said even if heavy electric vehicles were easily accessible, the industry faces impossible barriers such as vehicle design rules, a lack of electric truck recharging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and higher upfront costs.
They are asking the Federal Government to:
▪ Develop a national zero emission truck strategy.
▪ Sign the global memorandum of understanding on zero emission trucks, to set clear climate ambition for medium and heavy vehicles
▪ Fix the regulatory barriers (i.e. width and axle mass limits) to zero emission trucks, to increase vehicle model supply.
▪ Increase investment in electric recharging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for trucks.
▪ Implement a purchase price incentive for zero emission trucks.
▪ Fund and implement an upskilling and reskilling plan to ensure the preparedness of the workforce to transition to a zero emission fleet.