Fuso eCanter Electric Vehicle Shoot for customer Lion a large orange truck

After ruffling the feathers of  many in the truck industry yesterday, with the release  of its National Electric Vehicle Strategy, the office of the minister for infrastructure, transport, regional development and local government has responded  to enquiries Truck and Bus News  made, regarding  a strategy for heavy commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, by saying that the strategy announced yesterday only covered light passenger and commercials under 3.5 tonnes.

A spokesperson for Catherine King, the minister for transport, regional development and local government, told us that the National Electric Vehicle Strategy focuses specifically on light passenger and commercial vehicles under 3.5 tons as they are the major source of road transport emissions.

This is despite the fact that emission figures indicate, that despite making up only about five per cent of the national vehicle fleet, heavy commercial vehicles account for around 25 per cent of the nation’s vehicle emissions

“The Strategy is a starting point to achieve net zero road transport emissions, giving us a national framework to coordinate across Australian governments and prioritise actions to decarbonise road transport over time,” the spokesperson told us.

“Plans to further reduce emissions across transport, particularly in heavy vehicle, marine and aviation sectors, will be led by a net zero unit that been established in the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts,” they added.

The Government said it will continue to support the decarbonisation of heavy vehicles like the Team Global Express EV trial, claimed to be the largest trial of a heavy electric logistics fleet in Australia with ARENA, which has helped fund the trial and investment into the hydrogen highways program in NSW, that was mentioned  briefly toward the end of the 68 page strategy document, which it says is to help industry fleets acquire heavy hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and construct renewable hydrogen refuelling stations, located on major freight routes across Australia, starting with the Hume Highway.

The Government  has indicated that it has also adopted Australian Design Rule 80/04, which will phase in Euro VI noxious emissions standards for new heavy vehicles from 1 November 2024.

ADR 80/04 it says  will help support the decarbonisation of the heavy vehicle sector by making it more viable for manufacturers to offer cleaner and more fuel-efficient engines available overseas.

The government has also indicated that ADR80/04 also provides a pathway for electric and hydrogen fuel cell to demonstrate compliance with noxious emissions standards, so they can legally operate at the same mass limits as new diesel trucks under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
This last point is a contentious issue with some truck makers looking to bring in electric zero emission trucks, both BEV and FCEV Hydrogen powered, given that in Europe and some other developed regions of the world, authorities have offered weight allowances for electric trucks to overcome the weight penalty they bring with them