The draft National Electric Vehicle Strategy represents a positive step for the Albanese Government, but requires a lot more detail to succeed in its implementation according to HVIA.
HVIA’s National Policy and Government Relations Manager Greg Forbes says that the paper largely identifies the correct issues, but the Government’s current approach will struggle to gain momentum, particularly in the heavy vehicle space.
“Electrification of the heavy vehicle fleet faces a different set of challenges from electrifying the passenger vehicle fleet,” Mr Forbes said.
“Even within the heavy vehicle fleet, there are different challenges for different categories of vehicles.
“For example, relatively light duty urban delivery vehicles, carrying light loads and traveling relatively short distances, with a “back-to-base” operating model, have very different requirements than very large and heavy vehicles used in used in long-haul operations.
“There are also a range of other niches within the heavy vehicle space which have their own special requirements.”
Despite the loss of light vehicle manufacturing in Australia the heavy vehicle industry continues to represent a substantial proportion of Australia’s manufacturing industry and is world renowned for its productivity innovations.
“Our industry needs government to foster this innovation and support the continued operation of the industry during the transition,” Mr Forbes said.
Mr Forbes said it is important for Government to understand that heavy vehicles are fundamentally business assets and must be able to deliver a net benefit to the businesses that use them.
“Having a viable business case for electric or hydrogen vehicles is vital for widespread roll-out of these vehicles,” he said.
“HVIA already has members offering vehicles into the urban delivery market, and others planning to deliver electric and hydrogen powered vehicles to meet the challenges of long-haul operations and other market segments.
“To enable these long-haul business cases to work, Government needs to ensure that there is an adequate supply of affordable energy to underpin the transition along with a comprehensive network of heavy vehicle capable chargers and hydrogen refuelling stations.”
“This is vital if we are going to successfully extend electric and hydrogen vehicles beyond “back to base” applications.”
Mr Forbes said that many newer vehicles (particularly electric and hydrogen vehicles) are sourced from European designs.
“HVIA has been engaging with Governments across the country to seek agreement to allowing 2.55m wide trucks to have general access and for steer axle mass concessions for electric vehicles to make it easier for truck manufacturers to bring new electric and hydrogen truck models into Australia.
“Allowing wider and heavier electric and hydrogen trucks from other markets, to more easily get Australian regulatory approvals, is vital in opening up access to new low and zero emissions heavy vehicles,” he said.
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