New ARENA funding for commercial fleets

The newly expanded $250 million Future Fuels Fund to support the uptake of low and zero emissions commercial vehicles over the next four years.

Businesses can now apply for grants under the second round of the expanded Future Fuels Fund, with up to $127.9 million available to support the integration of electric vehicle technologies into both light and heavy vehicle fleets.

The initiative, managed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), will also support the commercialisation of hydrogen as a transport fuel in fleets. 

Making the announcement at SEA Electric’s factory in Melbourne on Saturday, Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Government’s Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy identifies commercial fleets as a priority area for support. 

“Through co-funding the essential enabling infrastructure – such as charging stations or even electrical upgrades to three phase power – we will ensure Australian business can embrace technologies that will help to both save on their operation costs and reduce emissions,” Minister Taylor said. 

“Including hydrogen refuelling as a priority area will help accelerate the decarbonisation of heavy and long-distance vehicle fleets where battery EVs may not be a viable option. 

“This fleets-first approach will also create a larger market for second-hand vehicles, which will improve affordability and accessibility for other consumers.

“Our technology-led approach is  in stark contrast to Labor’s policy, which will have a negligible impact on EV prices. We will not force Australians out of the vehicle they want to drive or put the costs up for those who can afford it the least.” 

Bill Gillespie, SEA Electric President – Asia Pacific Region expressed support for the announcement, saying government assistance to industry is essential in aiding the transition to EV technology, and subsequently for the country to achieve its net-zero carbon emissions goals.

“Around the world, government assistance with regards to transitioning fleets to future fuels has been imperative to ensure the early uptake of the technology,” he said.

“Australia’s road freight sector accounts for 38 per cent of country’s total transport emissions, so political policy related to the conversion in this area to zero-emissions technology should be a priority.”

The Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy was released in November 2021 and expanded the Future Fuels Fund to $250 million. Future funding will target public charging infrastructure, public hydrogen refuelling stations, and private household smart charger installations.

The Government says the expanded Fund is expected to result in more than $500 million of private and public co-investment, result in around 84 per cent of the Australian population having access to convenient access to fast public charging and create more than 2,600 new jobs. 

Round 2 of the Future Fuels Fund opened on 19 February 2022 and further information about the program is available on the Future Fuels Fund webpage.

Pictured above (l-r): Glen Walker (SEA Electric), Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor, Bill Gillespie (SEA Electric President APAC)

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