The ATA contends that truck dimension rules must be changed to make zero and low emission trucks more available.

The ATA’s CEO, Andrew McKellar  made the statement as it released its submission on heavy vehicle emission standards.

The Trucking Association is seeking to finally particularly have the width  of trucks in Australia line up with  European countries and the US, which has stayed stuck in the past despite numerous recommendations over more than 28 years.

The ATA said in its September 2019 broadside that  it was ‘bemused and concerned’ that Austroads  had announced that it had completed a study into truck width and recommended increasing truck widths to 2.55 metres, but did not actually release the full findings of the study. The ATA also  reminded the  industry that Austroads made the same recommendation in 1992 but that it has still not resulted in any change .

Austroads, is  the research organisation owned by the Commonwealth and state transport departments,  and while not revealing the full findings of the study in 2019, it did reveal that it also recommended that ‘2.6 metre wide trucks should be considered in the future’. Heading for two years on from that announcement the ATA reminds us that absolutely no change has been made  or is likely to be made int he near term.

The ATA and the industry has consistently made the case that 2.6 metre wide trucks should have been considered in this study, however Austroads continue to avoid the issue and delayed it to some distant future time.

The latest ATA submission recommends increased width and mass for diesel trucks that meet the Euro VI emission standard or equivalent, as well as for electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks.

The submission comes 18 months after the ATA fired a broadside at transport rule makers citing long term inaction as a factor holding back the economy and preventing Australia from reaping the benefits of efficiency  and emission improvements.

“Australian trucks have a width of 2.5 metres, with extra allowances for equipment such as tautliner curtain buckles, lights and removable load restraint equipment. In contrast, trucks in Europe are generally 2.55 metres wide and trucks in the US are 2.6 metres wide,” Andrew McKellar said.

“Electric and hydrogen trucks developed overseas will need to be redesigned for the Australian market to meet our dimension rules. This will slow the rollout of zero emission trucks in Australia.,”  he added.

McKellar said an increase in vehicle mass was also needed to encourage the purchase of newer, greener vehicles.

“Euro VI, battery electric and hydrogen trucks are heavier, which reduces the amount of freight they can carry and their commercial viability,” he said.

“There needs to be an extra 500 kg axle mass allowance for single steer trucks and an extra 1000 kg for twin steer trucks,” he said.

Mr McKellar said zero emission trucks were a reality and needed the right policy settings to increase their uptake in Australia.

“We are getting to the stage now where international vehicle manufacturers are bringing electric vehicles to the market. To support this, government must ensure vehicle standards regulations are flexible enough to allow that to happen,” he said.

He said the Government’s proposal to mandate Euro VI or the equivalent US/Japanese standards should be brought forward to 1 January 2024 for new truck models and 1 January 2025 for new trucks generally.

The Government’s current proposal is to mandate Euro VI or its equivalents for new truck models from 1 July 2027 and for new trucks from 1 July 2028.

“After extensive consultation with our members, the ATA considers that we can now mandate Euro VI and its equivalent standards earlier than originally planned, but the mass and width changes must come into force well in advance of 1 January 2024,” he said.

The Euro series of standards regulate the emission of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates by on-road heavy diesel vehicles. All new trucks sold in Australia must, as a minimum, meet the Euro V standard or the equivalent US/Japanese standards.