How the Government’s statement at COP26 affects you

The path to net zero emissions is frontpage news again with the Australian Government declaring its intentions at the United Nations COP26 conference this week.

The heavy vehicle industry has already raised the bar and HVIA members are amongst those at the forefront of the development and implementation of low and zero emissions heavy vehicles and technology.

In fact, Australia has had road vehicle emission standards for new vehicles in place since the early 1970s. In the past 20 years alone, the toxic emissions of diesel exhausts have been reduced by over 90%.

According to the Department of Infrastructure, the current standards reflect Australia’s commitment to harmonise with the vehicle standards developed by the United Nations wherever possible.

Today the Government released the 2021 Low Emissions Technology Statement to set out Australia’s technology-led approach to accelerating the development of technologies essential to achieving its goals.

It goes some way to addressing the chicken and egg dilemma – how will there be an adequate demand for the new technology if the energy supply and infrastructure isn’t in place? And who will invest in the infrastructure if there isn’t a market to support it?

“Australia’s technology-led approach aims to help new and emerging low emissions technologies achieve cost parity with existing high emissions technologies,” the paper says.

“When alternative low emissions technologies can compete with existing technologies on price, they will be adopted at large scale across the economy, significantly reducing emissions without additional costs.”

To explain the rationale the paper uses the emergence of solar generation as an analogy:

“It took until 2002 for the world to deploy its first gigawatt of solar generation. A decade later, 100 gigawatts had been deployed.

“By the end of 2022, we expect 1,000 gigawatts to be deployed. This means that 90% of all solar deployment has occurred in the last 10 years, as the cost of solar cells has fallen dramatically.”

So back to the chicken and egg. Where will the investment come from?

The Government’s position on this has been clear for some time, but has been articulated through the Low Emissions Statement:

“Widespread deployment of low emissions technologies will mainly be driven by the private sector.

“The roadmap aims to attract an average of $3 or more co-investment for every $1 of Australian Government investment in the decade to 2030.

“The government is working with the private sector to achieve this goal.”

State Governments are all working on their own strategies towards reducing emissions, however a national approach is key for industry to ensure harmonisation, reliability and a consistent rollout of infrastructure.

The paper acknowledges the importance of international collaboration to create new trade and economic opportunities.

“It will accelerate the development and expansion of international supply chains for low emissions technologies and energy, including clean hydrogen and its derivatives,” the paper says.

“Australia’s international partnerships will deliver industry‑led projects to reduce costs and deploy low emissions technologies.

“These will expand low emissions industries and help Australia become a leading exporter of low emissions technology and energy.”

HVIA LITE is a new project being led by HVIA’s Steve Power and Greg Forbes to assist members participate in a coordinated and collaborative approach 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.

If you are interested in discussing how the transition to electromobility affects your business please reach out. Email:

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