The Volvo Group  has used a pre Brisbane Truck Show event for media to  double down on  its  call to the Australian government to  give  long called for revisions to truck width and front axle loadings to  allow it and other truck makers to more easily launch more zero emission. trucks in this country.

Speaking at a Sustainability Summit the company held for media at its Wacol factory  in Brisbane’s west the day before the Truck Show opened, Volvo Australia boss, Martin Merrick said the  slow progress in reforming the rules was ‘holding up progress  on de carbonising  the Australian truck fleet’ and that  the government needs to move more quickly if  we are to make progress.

Merrick made a similar call several weeks ago when the government  revealed its National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which failed to cover the commercial vehicle sector in its scope.

” The disappointing thing I have to say has been the launch the National Electric. Vehicle Strategy which had very little content on heavy duty transport, we really need the policy to accelerate the adoption rate of battery electric commercial vehicles,” Merrick said.

“Legislation is the main part, but of course if we get policy for incentives like they have in Europe that will accelerate the adoption rate and of course we need infrastructure to facilitate recharging,” he said.

“But let me be clear about this the barrier  we have right now is legislation,  and if we are to meet our promise of building these trucks here in Australia by 2027 and if we don’t get legislation change then we will not meet our targets  off a 50 per cent reductio of greenhouse gases by 2050 and that will be a concern,” said Merrick.

“There was a report issued last week about the difference between emissions for passenger cars and heavy duty commercials, and it was clear  that if we focus on heavy duty trucks. then we get a better reduction in greenhouse gases, because while the average car produces 2.84 tonnes of C02 every year, a heavy duty semi trailer truck produces 111 tonnes of C02 each year.

“It is clear where we should focus our strategy on heavy vehicles we will get a much better and more impactful result when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases,” he said.

Merrick identified two critical pieces of legislation that need to be changed urgently by the Federal government if we are to ensure a flow of  new generation electric heavy vehicles to hit Australian roads sooner.

“The first is. to allow truck width to go from 2.5 metres to 2.55 metres and the second is to allow a front axle loading of 7.5 tonnes instead of the 6.5 tonnes we have right now,” Merrick told the gathered media.

“All the OEMs in Australia are in complete agreement and the Truck Industry Council and there ATA are

The local Volvo boss  was backed up by his International bosses with  President  of Volvo Trucks president Roger Alm  and  senior vice president of Volvo Trucks International Per Erik Lindstorm.

Merrick said that in the 35 years he has worked for Volvo, this is the most exciting year of his career given the plans that Volvo has for  de carbonising the transport industry and its fleet in particular.

” I have told some of our team in town hall meetings,  that I wish I was 10 or 15 years younger because what we are going to do and achieve over the next decade will be incredible,” said Merrick.

Merrick underlined the importance of the milestone celebrated by Volvo Australia two days before the Brisbane Truck Show, with the handover of the 75000 truck to be produced at its Wacol factory to  Hills Tankers, which took delivery of an FH16.

“Last year we celebrated 50 years of manufacturing trucks in Australia at Wacol, we’ve got 1500 passionate and committed workers at Volvo Group Australia  producing these fantastic trucks, and we are very proud of our heritage  and handing over the 75,000 Australian built Volvo to Andrew Hill of Hills Tankers, which is a real milestone,” said Merrick.

“We’ve been serving our customers from this factory for over 50 years and we can deliver  battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles from that same factory by 2027,” he concluded.