The final report of the Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles has missed clear opportunities to boost the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the freight logistics sector, says the Australian Logistics Council. (ALC)
“There is clearly a willingness within this industry to move towards greater use of EVs in freight delivery,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.
“It is disappointing that the Committee has not supported that positive attitude by explicitly addressing freight vehicles in its recommendations to the Government.
“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.”
Mr Coningham said it is also disappointing that the report did not take the opportunity to recommend a review of the Australian Design Rules to better accommodate the unique size and shape of some electric freight vehicles.
However, the report notes the need to facilitate the rollout of charging infrastructure to ensure the energy network can sustain a reliable supply of energy to power EVs – as recommended by the ALC in its submission to the Committee.
But on the whole, the recommendations fall well short of the type of action that is needed to hasten the uptake of EVs in the freight logistics sector, Mr Coningham said.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Last week, the New Zealand Government announced a further round of projects to be supported though its fund. This included 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,” said Mr Coningham.
“This is something ALC will be pursing in its pre-Budget submission and in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government.”
Meanwhile, ALC’s Electric Vehicles Working Group will continue to pursue the issues with all political parties in the lead up to the May federal election.