The Australian Government should implement a temporary zero emission truck purchase incentive if low and zero emission transport technologies are ever going to become a reality, CEO of the Australian Trucking Association, Andrew McKellar, said today.
Mr McKellar’s call came as he released the ATA’s submission to the Australian Government’s Future Fuels Strategy – a paper that sets out the government’s direction and practical actions to enable the commercial roll out of low emissions road transport technologies.
“New, low emission transport technologies will never become a reality if they are not viable commercial options for trucking operators,” Mr McKellar said.
“There must be a strong focus on the roll out of these technologies, with targeted government investment and clear action on how to remove the barriers that are preventing industry from adopting them,” Mr McKellar said.
To bring down these barriers, the ATA submission calls on the Government to implement a temporary Zero and Low Emission Vehicle (ZLEV) truck purchase incentive until these vehicles make up five per cent of Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet.
“ZLEV trucks are almost non-existent on Australian roads. They won’t be commercially viable until they are deployed, tested and refined for Australian operations, and increase in scale to lower costs for businesses,” Mr McKellar said.
“A temporary incentive would remove these barriers and allow market choice about the best way to move goods, reduce emissions and grow the Australian economy,” he said.
The ATA submission highlighted an example of a successful incentive system in California, in which trucking businesses can access US$120,000 ($A157,480) incentives for the purchase of zero emission prime movers.
“This scheme has already assisted more than 7,500 zero emission and other clean trucks and buses to enter the transport fleet,” Mr McKellar said.
The ATA submission also recommended the ZLEV strategy address vehicle design rules to implement additional mass and width for zero emission and cleaner trucks, as well as extending investment in hydrogen refuelling stations.
“Co-investment in hydrogen refuelling and electric charging stations by the Future Fuels Fund should incorporate heavy vehicle access, strategic planning of refuelling on transport routes, and consider co-location with existing truck driver rest facilities,” Mr McKellar said.
“For early fleet adoption, private commercial ‘back to base’ sites should be eligible for investment.
“Refuelling for long-haul transport routes must also recognise that truck drivers need access to quality rest facilities with food, drink, showers and toilets. Refuelling stations will need to be co-located with the services and rest areas that truck drivers need to use,” he said.
Mr McKellar said adopting the ATA’s recommendations would support the government’s commitment to the $24.5 million Freight Energy Productivity Program.
“The ATA welcomes this commitment, which will provide competitive grants to support trucking businesses to invest in efficiency improvement for diesel vehicle fleets, vehicle modifications, or new vehicle technologies,” he said.