Believe it or not we live in a first world country, not just a distant colonial outpost. Why then has it taken an additional eight years for our engine emissions regulations to catch up with Europe?
There is no reason for ADR80/04 not to be legislated now, provided the lead time allows for current timelines on vehicle delivery.
Australia is a taker when it comes to most technology, even if we have a pretty solid record of innovation.
ADR80/04 has been on the table for such a long time that both the car industry and the heavy vehicle industry have been crying out to Government to hurry up and mandate the laws for lower emissions.
That is because the technology has been in place for such a long time overseas, but our regulations and fuel standards don’t provide the necessary support for the heavier engines that are needed to achieve the requirements.
So, we are using dated technology instead. Euro 6 was first mooted for Australia as long ago as 2011.
(Kudos goes to all the manufacturers who have brought compliant powertrains to market in spite of the slowness of the wheels of Government.)
The Australian Government began the process of drafting legislation to comply and sought industry’s feedback on any obstacles.
Admittedly, industry did lobby Government of the day to hold back initially. Why? Because Australia is a rare beast in that we use a combination of European, American and Japanese trucks (and others).
While Europe had made the move to Euro 6, the same standards weren’t in place in American or Japanese markets. But now they are. And they have been for years.
Way back in 2012 the Australian Trucking Association, representing fleet operators, proposed in response to the Government’s review of Emission Standards for Heavy Vehicles, that Euro 6 be held back to the beginning of 2016 for new vehicles and 2017 for updates to existing models.
At the time they argued that members had experienced more issues with durability and reliability of vehicles under ADR80/03 (Euro 5) than earlier vehicles that met lower emission standards.
When 2017 came around and the Government still hadn’t moved, the operator associations still resisted, claiming that reduced fuel efficiency countered the emissions reductions, but those arguments didn’t fly.
It became quite apparent that those claims were really shooting them in the foot, because the old technology they wanted to cling to was not supported by the manufacturers.
It was doing nothing for progress in updating the fleet more broadly, and improving the uptake in safety equipment either.
More recently the pressures from the community to act on climate change have seen the industry’s largest customers pushing for tangible action on sustainability.
Fortunately now everyone is on board. And not before time, because the technology transition has begun in earnest worldwide.
This is a chance for Australia to catch up, and even to become a world leader in the journey towards net zero.
Prior to this year’s Federal Election we put forward HVIA’s policy platform to the major parties.
We said we want immediate steps to support the transition to low and zero emissions heavy vehicles by bringing in exclusive depreciation incentives for new low or zero emissions vehicles (ADR80/04 or better).
The first step is bringing ADR80/04 into regulation. There is no reason for further delays.
We understand that from a political and Government department point of view it is a done deal – just a matter of timing.
There is no reason for further delays. In fact the consequences of those delays have a dramatic flow-on effect that appears to have escaped the bureaucracy.
Currently the delivery time on many new trucks is around two years from order date.
So, if you order your truck today you might be ordering an ADR80/03 (Euro 5 or equivalent) vehicle, which subject to the implementation of the legislation may be non-compliant when it arrives.
Australia has spoken on its will to take action on emissions reduction. Our industry is ready to play its part. What is the hold up?
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