NatRoad warns that lack of a plan will hamper the move to net zero

open road on the horizon, road transport net zero australia,

Read time: 2 mins

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is calling on the federal government to establish a $3.5 billion dollar fund to assist the heavy transport industry to transition to electric vehicles.

Despite contributing around 20 % of national carbon emissions, NatRoad said the road transport industry has been largely forgotten in the nation’s decarbonisation planning, significantly hampering the country’s ability to reach net zero by 2030.

NatRoad’s submission to a Federal House of Representatives inquiry into the transition to electric vehicles says that the cost of an electric heavy vehicle is likely to be two to three times that of its diesel equivalent.

“This represents a significant financial barrier to the average trucking business” says NatRoad Chief Executive Officer Warren Clark.

“Trucking industry revenue is being squeezed by higher costs, with profit margins declining over the last five years to be just 2.3 percent, while overall industry profit is down by 7.4 percent.

“We’re pro-decarbonisation as a sector, but we’re also realistic about the day-to-day running costs of heavy vehicles, especially during a cost of living crisis. While alternative fuels and energy, including electric vehicles, have massive emission reduction potential, they currently come at a high-cost premium.

“The bottom line is that combining the electric heavy vehicle cost barrier with a limited industry ability to pay, there’s likely to be a delay in our sector’s transition to lower emissions.”

NatRoad’s Decarbonisation Industry White Paper, asks the Federal Government to set up a $3.5 billion Clean Transport Fund, with a mix of loans and direct incentives, to bring forward the road freight transition.

Mr Clark said the US and European experiences have demonstrated that financial incentives are critical to early adoption of EVs and alternative fuels for heavy vehicles.

“Make no mistake – moving to EVs where they are suitable for the freight task will bring down operating costs, that’s why we support decarbonisation,” Mr Clark said.

“But the Australian Government also needs to deliver a strategy and funding for developing low emission truck recharging and refuelling infrastructure.”

NatRoad has also recommended that the Australian, state and territory governments should develop a national approach to higher axle mass limits for electric and low emission vehicles.

“Whilst we welcome recent changes to get electric trucks onto the road, the growing inconsistency between the states and territories is just creating another barrier to reducing emissions,” Mr Clark said.

See the NatRoad submission here.