Iveco Australia has announced it has secured a $500,000 grant as part of a broader Victorian Government initiative which is  designed to encourage more Victorian-based businesses to introduce and support zero emission vehicles.

Iveco was one of only four recipients, and says that  it will allocate the funds towards three principal channels including  comparative research, an additional site preparation of its planned Customisation and Innovation Centre (CIC) in the lead up to its local zero emission vehicle launch, as well as upskilling relevant employees to properly facilitate the product roll-out and subsequent support.

Iveco Trucks Australia’s strategic projects and industry relations manager, Marco Quaranta, said the funding has been warmly received and would assist the company to further plan for the introduction of its zero emission vehicles in Australia and New Zealand, beginning with the latest generation Daily Electric.

Given the differences in technology between traditional diesel and zero emission commercial vehicles, considerable pre-launch preparation needs to be undertaken,” Quaranta said.

“Our funding submission took a holistic approach by identifying three key areas that we thought were vital to the successful introduction of zero emission models, these centred around tooling, training and total cost of ownership comparisons (TCO).”

Iveco has partnered with Swinburne University of Technology for the research component of pre-launch preparations, to review existing data and conduct original research between diesel, electric and hydrogen power generation technologies.

 The company also said that to deliver training programs in support of new zero emission models, it will again partner with leading tertiary institutions to up skill relevant staff as well as technicians across the dealer network prior to launch.

“Maintaining electric vehicles requires a highly speciliased skillsetthe technicians need to have knowledge that more closely matches that of an electrician, rather than a mechanic, Quaranta said.

The company said that the grant funding will also be used to develop a common space within the CIC facility, which will include unique tooling and safety infrastructure to allow the IVECO team to properly support and maintain the zero emission range prior to and following its launch.

The company also revealed that prototypes of its Daily Electric models are due in 2023, with Quaranta saying that Iveco Australia will receive  its Daily Electric light commercial vehicles around the middle of next year for local testing an evaluation.

“The Daily Electric vehicles will be fully validated direct from Europe but undergo extensive testing in Australia prior to launch, to ensure 100 per cent suitability for Australian applications and conditions,” he said.

Early discussions with key customers regarding vehicle arrival have been extremely positive, with many wanting to become early adopters of the technology.”