Prime Minister Scott Morrison has driven the first new Volvo FL Electric truck to land in Australia during a media event held on Friday at the Volvo Group Australia truck manufacturing plant at Wacol, Queensland.
The Volvo FL Electric is set to join the Linfox fleet in April later this year.
The Prime Minister, along with Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews and Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz, took part in a comprehensive tour of the production lines at the facility where Volvo and Mack trucks are proudly assembled by Australians for Australian operators.
At a press conference following the tour, VGA President and CEO Martin Merrick said recent significant investments in the company’s Wacol plant have shored up its long-term viability as an Australian truck producer.
“VGA employs over 1,400 people and supports 90 local manufacturing suppliers and we are extremely proud if this,” said Merrick – adding that the company has been building Volvo trucks at this plant since 1972.
Speaking about the new Volvo FL Electric that was on display in the background, Merrick described it as the first fully electric truck Volvo has built.
“It will go into service with our partner Linfox in April this year,” he said.
“This marks the start of our journey to the future where we will then provide total fossil (fuel) free transport solutions by 2040.”
Taking the podium, Prime Minister Morrison said that after touring the facility – and personally fitting a gold bulldog to the bonnet of a Mack – he felt a great sense of pride in what Australians can do and what they are achieving at VGA’s Wacol plant.
“There are some 600 employees here making great things in Australia,” said Morrison.
“We make them extremely well. We make really big things and really small things, but they are all made incredibly well and we’re going to keep making them,” he said.
To have a modern manufacturing strategy in Australia, Morrison said, is all about ensuring there is a big future for it in the country.
“What we see here is a great partnership, a great combination, a partnership between the Australian trucking industry and the supplier VGA, and that’s what actually makes the manufacture of these vehicles work right here in Wacol, Queensland,” said the Prime Minister.
Morrison also personally thanked Linfox Executive Chairman, Peter Fox, as well as the collective trucking fraternity in Australia for their huge efforts in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Peter, to you and all the senior leaders of the trucking industry, can I say thank you to you and all of your drivers and all of your teams,” said Morrison.
“Over the course of COVID-19 you have kept Australia moving despite the many challenges you’ve faced you’ve kept turning up.”
With that, Morrison moved over to check out the electric truck and took up the offer to take it for a 50-metre jaunt to the front gate where the Commonwealth V12 BMW was waiting to whisk him away.
“See you in Canberra,” he quipped from the driver’s seat of the Volvo FL Electric as he accelerated smoothly and silently away.