The Morrison Government has announced an expansion of its $250 million Future Fuels Fund in a bid to support uptake of low and zero emissions vehicles in commercial fleets.
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, made the announcement over the weekend at electric vehicle start up SEA Electric’s factory in Melbourne’s Dandong
Minister Taylor announced that businesses will be able to apply for grants under the second round of the Future Fuels Fund to support the uptake of low and zero emissions vehicles over the next four years.
This will mean that up to $127.9 million will be available to ‘support the integration of electric vehicle technologies into both light and heavy vehicle fleets’, as well as to it says, support the commercialisation of hydrogen as a transport fuel in fleets.
The program will be managed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
The Morrison Government has announced it has committed $2.1 billion through its Future Fuels and Vehicle Strategy to partner with industry to support the uptake of low and zero emissions vehicles with commercial fleets identified as a priority area for the support.
Minister Taylor said the program will help Australian fleet operators shift to future fuel technologies by co-investing in EV charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.
“The Morrison Government backs businesses making decisions to switch to future fuel technologies where it makes sense for their fleets,” Taylor said.
“Through co-funding the essential enabling infrastructure – such as charging stations or even electrical upgrades to three phase power – we will ensure Australian business can embrace technologies that will help to both save on their operation costs and reduce emissions,” he added.
“Including hydrogen refuelling as a priority area will help accelerate the decarbonisation of heavy and long-distance vehicle fleets where battery EVs may not be a viable option.
“This fleets-first approach will also create a larger market for second-hand vehicles, which will improve affordability and accessibility for other consumers,” the Minister said.
As the backdrop for the announcement and a company likely to benefit from the assistance to fleets being touted by the Government for fleets buying electric trucks, SEA Electric said it supported the latest funding program.
SEA Electric said that from its perspective, government assistance to industry is essential in aiding the transition to EV technology, and subsequently for the country to achieve its net-zero carbon emissions goals.
“We commend Minister Taylor and the Government for making this announcement,” said Bill Gillespie, SEA Electric president for Asia Pacific.
“Around the world, government assistance with regards to transitioning fleets to future fuels has been imperative to ensure the early uptake of the technology.
“Australia’s road freight sector accounts for 38 per cent of country’s total transport emissions, so political policy related to the conversion in this area to zero-emissions technology should be a priority.
“Here at SEA Electric, we provide to the market a suite of solutions that are currently available, with credentials proven by millions of kilometres of real-world data.
“Best of all, with the manufacturing of these trucks taking place right here in Australia, we are keeping jobs on these shores.”