Following delivery of the final report of the Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has expressed extreme disappointment about what it considers to be missed opportunities to boost the uptake of heavy-duty electric vehicles (EVs) in the Australian freight logistics sector.
The comments come from newly appointed ALC Chief Executive Officer, Kirk Coningham, who took up the position in January this year.
His previous role until December 2018 was as the National Executive Director of the Urban Development Institute of Australia.
“There is clearly a willingness within this industry to move towards greater use of EVs in freight delivery,” said Coningham.
“It is disappointing that the Committee has not supported that positive attitude by explicitly addressing freight vehicles in its recommendations to the Government,” he said.
“It is especially perplexing that the Committee recommends establishing national EV targets for light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and metropolitan buses – but is silent on establishing a similar target for heavy vehicles.”
It is similarly disappointing according to Coningham that the report did not take the opportunity to recommend a review of the Australian Design Rules, so that the unique size and shape of some electric freight vehicles could be better accommodated.
“The ALC is pleased that the report does make recommendations on some of the issues raised in our submission, including the need to facilitate the rollout of charging infrastructure and ensure the energy network is able to sustain a reliable supply of energy to power EVs.”
“However, on the whole, these recommendations fall well short of the type of action that is needed to hasten the uptake of EVs in the freight logistics sector.”
“One opportunity that was clearly missed was a recommendation to establish a Low Emission Vehicle Contestable Fund, similar to one already operating in New Zealand.”
“Indeed, the report specifically refers to the New Zealand fund in its commentary and notes its benefits – but does not follow through by recommending a similar initiative for Australia.”
“Just last week, the New Zealand Government announced a further round of projects to be supported though its fund, including projects specifically focused on the freight sector designed to showcase the capabilities of long-haul heavy electric vehicles.”
“Similar initiatives will need to be adopted in an Australian context if freight logistics operators are to be encouraged to incorporate EVs into their own operations. This is something the ALC will be pursuing in its pre-Budget submission and in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government.”
“The ALC’s Electric Vehicles Working Group will continue to pursue these matters with all political parties in the lead up to this year’s Federal election,” said Coningham.