NSW Announces Higher Mass Limits For ZEV Trial

The NSW Government has unveiled a landmark roadmap to reduce transport emissions, including providing mass limit concessions for a two-year trial of zero-emissions heavy vehicles

As part of its goal of achieving net zero by 2050, this week Transport for NSW (TfNSW) released its Towards Net Zero Emissions Freight Policy, outlining a commitment to reduce emissions in the transport sector, including a trial of additional-mass zero emissions heavy vehicles on NSW roads.

This follows hot on the heels of several game-changing announcements over the past week that will accelerate the decarbonisation of trucking in Australia – including the Federal Government’s announcement to increase truck maximum width to 2.55 metres and the Department for Infrastructure and Transport in South Australia announcing a trial of low and zero-emissions trucks that will permit them to exceed regulated axle load limits.

Under the NSW roadmap, the Government has committed to working with industry to support the transition to lower- and zero-emissions technologies, acknowledging that industry is already investing in technological advancements.

The policy was developed after consultation with stakeholders in the NSW freight industry, academia, vehicle manufacturers, service providers, and with local, state and federal government departments and organisations.

TfNSW has provided a roadmap to reduce emissions, including reviewing state regulations, seeking changes to national heavy vehicle standards, providing mass limit concessions, and pursuing procurement policies to encourage take up of ZEVs.

Significantly, the NSW Government has recognised that current regulatory frameworks restrict the use of heavier and wider vehicles on NSW roads, and that axle mass limits in the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) can be a barrier to early market adoption of ZEVs.

TfNSW has, therefore, announced a trial for the NSW road network for the additional masses required for zero-emissions heavy vehicles. This two-year trial will provide access for zero- emission vehicles with up to eight tonnes on a single steer axle and up to 18.5 tonnes on the drive axle, where the overall gross vehicle mass (GVM) of the prime mover does not exceed 26 tonnes.

At this stage, access is not available to assets owned or maintained by third party or local road managers. TfNSW will be working with third-party asset owners and partners to progressively increase access.

The NSW Government has also announced it will work with other jurisdictions to advocate for changes to national heavy vehicle emissions standards and to the ADRs and will seek to accelerate the implementation of Euro VI and Euro VII emissions standards. It will also consider setting up an appropriate road-user charging framework for heavy ZEVs.

During policy consultation, the freight industry identified that information relevant to transition to low- and zero-emissions vehicles is difficult to source. This includes up-to-date and accurate information on available models, alternate technology, and associated costs which are crucial for reliable decision making.

In response, TfNSW has released a free online heavy vehicle comparison resource to compare information on diesel and low- and zero-emissions vehicles, for heavy vehicles three tonne and above, and information on current and emerging technologies.

The free online heavy vehicle comparison tool is live on the TfNSW Freight Hub and comprises two sections, a Knowledge Hub, including information on grants and technologies available, and a Heavy Vehicle Comparison Tool, which provides information on diesel and low- and zero-emissions vehicles.

TfNSW has already electrified its bus and corporate passenger fleet and transitioned its heavy commercial vehicle fleet and will now embed freight emissions reduction commitments into procurement decision making by establishing appropriate sustainability requirements and key performance indicators to enable the use of LZEVs for infrastructure projects and in other operations.

TfNSW also supports developments in hydrogen, with broader Government commitments including the NSW Hydrogen Strategy, which established a 20 per cent target for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles within the NSW Government fleet by 2030.

The Department is conducting feasibility studies, trials and proof-of concept testing of its truck fleet and will establish models for large-scale deployment and fleet transition to achieve their target.

If you are interested in contributing to HVIA’s advocacy on any of the above areas, don’t hesitate to reach out Adele Lausberg, Chief Advocacy Officer, at a.lausberg@hvia.asn.au.

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