‘Urgent’ reform needed on electric trucks in Australia

Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

A series of “urgent” reforms are needed to encourage the use of electric trucks in Australia and bring the country into line with much of the rest of the world, with a swift transition to have a “truly massive” impact, according to transport groups.

The Electric Vehicle Council and Australian Trucking Association have teamed up to release a number of policy recommendations for the federal government to drive the uptake of electric trucks in the country.

These include exempting electric trucks from city curfews, exempting them from stamp duty and setting new sales targets.

Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of electric trucks, the organisations said. Out of 58 electric truck models available in North America, Europe and China, only 14 are available in Australia.

There are enormous opportunities on offer too, Electric Vehicle Council CEO Behyad Jafari said, including in addressing supply chain issues, ending volatile diesel costs, reducing maintenance costs and delivering better conditions for workers.

“Every government in Australia has committed to net-zero, but this can’t be achieved without decarbonising the transport sector,” Mr Jafari said.

“The AdBlue shortage crisis was a potent warning about our extreme fuel insecurity. Why should Australia be dependent on China and the Middle East to keep itself moving when we could be using homegrown power? Being able to power our supply chains with local electricity is surely a national sovereignty imperative.”

The organisations have called on the government to implement a one tonne concession for electric and zero-emission trucks, for trucks to be exempt from urban curfews, incentive payments to reduce the cost of installing charging infrastructure at depots, investment in public charging infrastructure, an exemption for electric trucks from stamp duty and a sales target of 30 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040.

These policy recommendations were identified following a series of workshops involving about 50 participating organisations such as truck manufacturers, fleet operators and charging infrastructure and electricity providers.

“We need the government to read these recommendations and get moving fast,” Mr Jafari said.

“If we implement them swiftly the benefits to Australian trucking, our economy and our environment will be truly massive.”

Australia’s supply chains will be at risk if electric trucks are not embraced, Australian Trucking Association chair David Smith said.

“It costs about $117 to fuel a diesel truck for 300km, but just $18 for an electric truck. If Australia gets left behind on the transition to electric and zero emissions trucks, we risk our supply chains and exporters getting stuck with high, globally uncompetitive per km freight costs,” Mr Smith said.

“Trucking operators face a number of barriers to buy and use an electric truck and these must be addressed to lower freight costs, improve fuel security and reduce emissions.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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