On the eve of the federal budget, Labor unveiled a new electric vehicle policy that has never been tested before in this country.
If elected, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised that 50 per cent of new car sales would be electric by 2030.
The pre-election pitch is being sold as a way to help achieve Labor’s emissions reduction target of 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, and an opportunity to kickstart an electric vehicle manufacturing industry.
But it raises questions about the future cost of cars, how the fuel excise will be replaced and whether boosting electric cars is the right solution to a pressing global problem.
Transport is Australia’s third-largest source of greenhouse gas pollution, contributing 19 per cent of the country’s emissions. Nearly half of this pollution comes from tailpipe emissions, caused by the combustion of petroleum-based fuels.
By 2030, transport sector pollution will rise by 15 per cent and cars will remain the key source, a Senate report found.
Transport has to be in the mix,” the Grattan Institute’s energy program director Tony Wood said of the country’s effort to achieve its emissions targets.
“And it’s a pity we haven’t started earlier because once we no longer had a vehicle manufacturing industry to protect, then you would have thought we could start to raise our standard for vehicle emissions.”
Australia has become what many describe as a dumping ground for the world’s dirtiest cars, the result of poor quality fuel and a lack of any vehicle emissions standards, putting us behind countries like China, Turkey and India.
The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions intensity for passenger cars in Australia is 45 per cent worse than in Europe, the National Transport Commission found.
A lack of incentives for electric cars means that they now constitute just 0.2 per cent of new purchases in Australia, yet they approach nearly half of all new sales in Norway.
It comes as the United Nations is warning that Australia is off track to meet its commitment under the 2015 International Paris Agreement to limit the warming of the planet to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Wood said that in order to achieve Australia’s emissions target, the country must reduce pollution to around 146 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, which is 22 per cent lower than the most recent projection for 2030. READ MORE
Australia already has a successful electric vehicle manufacturer that is expanding rapidly overseas without any support from government.
SEA Electric, based in Victoria, has an order bank running into hundreds for its battery-powered commercial vehicles and has just set up an assembly operation in Los Angeles to supply the US.
Founded six years ago, it exploits proprietary engineering to make battery trucks and vans using Hino, Isuzu and Ford bodies.
Managing director Tony Fairweather says Australia lags other nations in providing incentives for battery vehicles and risks “missing the boat” on the global transition to EVs.
But he welcomes the ALP’s initiative as a first step. “There’s zero support right now. The announcements this week were recognition that the EV revolution is pending and hopefully that will transition into supporting industry.”
He says small-scale operations such as SEA Electric face challenges getting financial backing with local banks “too conservative”.
But ironically, he says, the lack of incentives have helped SEA Electric adopt a uniquely effective approach.
“The fact Australia hasn’t provided us with incentives and substantial grants to develop our technology has actually been to our benefit because we had to develop something that stands on its own two feet in terms of its cost base,” he says.
The comparisons with the US, where Fairweather was launching the SEA Electric operation a few weeks ago, are stark.
“There’s been so much support and incentives for both manufacturers and end-users that those who have started to move into this space — and there is some competition over there, although not substantial — have developed higher cost and more sophisticated technology than is required in the commercial vehicle sector,” he says.
SEA Electric began converting trucks when batteries first became price-competitive three years ago.
It works closely with the manufacturers that supply the vehicle bodies and the process takes about four months from order to delivery. Most of its output has been shipped to New Zealand or the US, with handfuls going into Australian operations of companies such as Woolworths, Cleanaway and Ikea.
However, their experience is winning them over.
“Our trucks can do the same job as a diesel truck and it’s actually cheaper to buy when you look at its total life,” Fairweather says. “They are now starting to buy volume — we see the next orders being double-digit.”
Fairweather says the advantages go beyond environmental concerns. “There’s performance, cost, convenience — a whole heap of things about EVs that are attractive.”
SEA Electric will be exhibiting at the 2019 Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, North America’s largest conference and expo showcasing the real-world application of advanced transportation technologies, drive trains, and clean fuels.
Our SEA Electric Team will be available to discuss the latest in our 100% electric power system solutions.
Australia may mirror European electric vehicle (EV) fleet developments with urban uses, such as recycling collection, at the forefront initially.
Waste management company Suez is to trial an EV with high Australian content with Western Australia’s City of Belmont for just such a task expects other customers to demand the same.
City governments, particularly in northern Europe, have pressured truck manufacturers’ customers to use quiet and emissionless work vehicles for urban and suburban tasks, such as waste collection and goods delivery.
The move is in a direction forged by South Australia’s East Waste and New Zealand by contractor Waste Management NZ.
Suez state general manager WA Craig Barker states that the EV truck is the first of its kind for the company in WA and will be a “showcase for the future of waste collection”.
“Suez is always looking for new ways to deliver services to customers,” Barker says.
“This new generation of waste collection vehicle is only now becoming available here, and we are keen to test this proven technology for our Belmont customers ahead of wider demand from our other council customers.”
The electric truck features an Iveco cab chassis fitted with an electric powered drive train fitted by SEA Electric in a SuperiorPak body.
The 230kWh battery provides more than 200km driving range before recharge, which only requires a simple 32-amp, three-phase outlet.
The side-loader will save about 35,000 litres of diesel a year, avoiding around 90 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
“Reducing carbon emissions is a key element of our City’s environment and sustainability strategy, and innovation in waste management is an important part of this,” City of Belmont CEO John Christie says.
“We are delighted that Suez’s new zero emissions truck will lead our recycling collections and look forward to seeing it out servicing the community while minimising our environmental impact.
“The new EV truck will be collecting recycling from around the City of Belmont.”
Suez notes that, in addition to generating zero emissions and fuel saving, the EV saves on AdBlue costs, has minimal oil changes and significantly reduced maintenance.
“Improved braking also means brake pads only need to be replaced every two years, compared to quarterly changes in traditional diesel-powered side-lift trucks,” Barker says. READ MORE
Waste and water management company SUEZ has selected the City of Belmont as the first site in Western Australia for its innovative new fully Electric Vehicle (EV) recycling truck.
SUEZ State General Manager WA Craig Barker said the EV truck, due for delivery in June, is the first of its kind for the company in Western Australia and will be a showcase for the future of waste collection.
“SUEZ is always looking for new ways to deliver services to customers,” said Barker.
“This new generation of waste collection vehicle is only now becoming available here, and we are keen to test this proven technology for our Belmont customers ahead of wider demand from our other council customers.”
The EV truck features an IVECO cab chassis fitted with an electric powered drive train built by SEA Electric in a SuperiorPak body.
A 230kWh battery provides more than 200 kilometre driving range before recharge and reportedly requires a simple 32-amp, three-phase outlet.
The side-loader EV truck will save approximately 35,000 litres of diesel per year noted SUEZ in a statement.
It estimates that the City residents will benefit from a further reduction in around 90 tonnes of carbon emissions.
City of Belmont Chief Executive Officer John Christie said the City was excited to be the first in Western Australia to benefit from SUEZ’s new EV truck.
“Reducing carbon emissions is a key element of our City’s Environment and Sustainability Strategy, and innovation in waste management is an important part of this,” said Christie.
“We are delighted that SUEZ’s new zero emissions truck will lead our recycling collections and look forward to seeing it out servicing the community while minimising our environmental impact,” he said.
”The new EV truck will be collecting recycling from around the City of Belmont.”
In addition to generating zero emissions, the EV truck offers a huge range of benefits including no diesel or AdBlue fuel costs, minimal oil changes and significantly reduced maintenance.
“Improved braking also means brake pads only need to be replaced every two years, compared to quarterly changes in traditional diesel-powered side-lift trucks,” said Barker.
The side-lift EV truck offers the latest in electric/hydraulic waste collection and compaction and is capable of approximately 1200 lifts per day on a single charge.
SUEZ was awarded the collections contract for the City of Belmont in November 2018 and this month began the roll out of its new diesel fleet.
California environmental regulators are working on a plan to speed up the deployment of electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks operating on the state’s streets and highways.
At a public workshop Feb. 25, California Air Resources Board officials said they are aiming to offer for approval by the end of this year the agency’s proposed regulation that would require a certain percentage of all trucks sold in the state to be electric or hydrogen fuel-cell trucks.
“The zero-emission truck market is beginning to grow rapidly with dozens of models commercially available today and many major manufacturers announcing plans for future commercialization of battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks and buses,” said a CARB document presented for discussion at the hours-long public workshop.
The document also said that a wide range of battery-electric trucks are already becoming competitive with diesel-fueled vehicles in the right application and are expected to have a favorable comparison to diesel vehicles by 2024.
“The general idea is that the states have policies to get zero-emissions trucks into the marketplace,” Paul Arneja, a CARB air resources engineer, told Transport Topics. “The end goal that we’re pretty sure of is to reach 40,000 electric trucks by 2030.”
Arneja said CARB staff has been considering a mandate that manufacturers ensure that 2.5% of their overall sales are of electric trucks beginning in 2024, possibly increasing the mandate to 15% by 2030.
“Basically, CARB is committed to imposing a sales mandate on the manufacturers,” said Mike Tunnell, American Trucking Associations’ California-based director of energy and environmental affairs. “Anybody that does $2 billion or higher with sales in California would be required to sell a portion of certain vehicles as electric.”
Tunnell added, “But how could truckers be forced to buy, or manufacturers forced to sell, electric trucks? That’s a question the manufacturers are asking.”
Tunnell said ATA is closely watching the development of the proposal, particularly a possible requirement that fleets that do purchase the electric vehicles report to CARB on their performance.
CARB originally was considering a 2024 proposal requirement to apply to only Class 2 through Class 7 vehicles, but more recently has been looking at adding Class 8s into the mix.
“CARB is cognizant that there’s a danger if they get this wrong. They could impact the electric truck market going forward,” Tunnell said. “So they want to make sure this rule accelerates the deployment of the most promising applications for this technology.”
Arneja said CARB is looking mostly at those vehicle segments that are most suited for electrification.
“We’re mostly concentrating at first on classes 2-7,” Arneja said. “Class 8 we still have not figured out what to do there. We’re undecided at this point.”
Arneja added, “We have seen a lot of announcements from the major truck manufacturers like Peterbilt, Volvo and Freightliner, beyond just the newer startups. They’re all looking at this technology seriously.” READ MORE
With commercial electric truck use in Australia still in its infancy, clues to the operational value of their use here are scarce. With things more advanced across the Pacific, the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) recently released an overview of its survey findings from fleets there.
This report’s conclusions were generated through interviews with fleets, manufacturers, and subject matter experts with first-hand experience with battery electric vehicles and grid infrastructure.
Fourteen fleets responded to a survey that was used to better understand their needs and plans with respect to electric truck adoption.
Where they make sense
The NACFE created this Guidance Report to provide perspective, insights, and resources on the complex topic of the viability of commercial battery electric vehicles (CBEVs), Classes 3 through 8 (see below).
This report provides a foundation for understanding the key arguments for and against this rapidly evolving powertrain alternative.
This report expands NACFE’s role to include emerging new technologies that may not yet be available in production.
The fuel costs faced by the trucking industry are a significant part of the expense to operate a tractor-trailer in North America.
Over the past decade fuel has been as high as $0.65 per mile driven and then dropped to $0.34 by 2016. At these two points, fuel costs accounted for 39 per cent and 21 per cent of the total cost of operating a commercial vehicle respectively. The price per gallon for diesel as of March 2018 has now risen to around $3.00 per gallon ($0.44 per mile) from the 2017 yearly average of $2.65.
In addition, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have enacted greenhouse gas emissions regulations on commercial vehicles extended to 2027 that require manufacturers to develop and sell technologies to improve efficiency.
These factors have driven fleets, manufacturers, and others to improve the efficiency of over-the-road tractor-trailers.
Fortunately, myriad technologies that can cost-effectively improve the fuel efficiency of Class 8 trucks are readily available on the market today.
While the industry continues to increase the adoption levels of these technologies, industry stalwarts and new start-ups are aggressively developing revolutionary new products such as electric powertrains for trucks and technologies that continue to increase automated operation.
Widespread innovation and technological advances are producing technologies and practices that could affect decisive, revolutionary, and potentially disruptive opportunities across the transportation industry.
As novel concepts, new applications, and original modes of behaviour reach the market, fleets and manufacturers need information on the benefits, challenges, and risks so that everyone can profit in this evolving landscape. READ MORE
Hino Australia has launched a new online search tool to enable owners to identify if their truck is the subject of a recall.
Available on both the Hino website, and also in the Hino fleet portal, it allows owners to easily verify if there are any recalls for their vehicle by inputting their vehicle identification number (VIN).
If a truck is affected, customers will be guided through the next steps to resolve it.
“Hino takes safety seriously, which is why we have launched this new easily-used recall search tool,” Hino Australia general manager product support Greg Bleasel says.
“As a brand we never want to see any quality issues with our product, but the reality is that occasionally there are, so our commitment to our customers is to ensure these are addressed quickly, efficiently and with minimal impact to their business.
“The new online search tool is part of our constant efforts to ensure ongoing customer satisfaction and safety.”
The portal includes an information hub that contains advisory videos demonstrating genuine vs non-genuine parts comparison tests, as well as a number of customer training tools.
Product information bulletins also contain updates on models or news around support services, material safety data sheets (MSDA) for management of consumable materials in the event of accidents, and technical tips on troubleshooting specific scenarios around repairs and maintenance.
Customers can also use the portal to request a visit – either or both from the dealership or a Hino representative – as well as book fleet training sessions either on-site or at the Hino training centre in Sydney.
Hino says the new recall tool has been introduced as an additional proactive measure for informing customers about recalls, in addition to Hino writing to affected owners and advertising in major metropolitan and rural newspapers as part of the Truck Industry Council (TIC) Code of Practice guidelines for safety recalls.
“The recall search tool is a key feature in our fleet portal, which we believe is the benchmark online fleet customer support tool among Japanese truck manufacturers as it has the functionality for multiple Vehicle Information Numbers, or VINs, to be uploaded,” it says.
“We have invested heavily in the fleet portal, developing it from customer feedback on what they want out of this type of platform and we anticipate it will grow to meet the needs of our customers.” READ MORE
Fleet delivery service ANC has unveiled its first commercial electric vehicle fleet, dedicated to client Ikea’s last-mile home delivery services in New South Wales.
The fleet comprises three 100 per cent electric vehicles, built on a Hino 917 Series glider, with SEA Electric’s SEA Drive 120a electric components.
ANC managing director James Taylor says international retailers have been transitioning their fleets to electric vehicles in other countries, but Australia has been slower due to a lack of commercial vehicle supply, availability and investment.
“We are thrilled to become the first commercial electric home delivery fleet provider in New South Wales and pledge our commitment to Ikea’s bold vision for a 100 per cent electric home delivery fleet by 2025.
“We realise that as a fleet delivery service we have a long way to go but look forward to using our experience and knowledge to change the commercial fleet landscape for the better, for everyone.
“Our fleet consists of over 760 trucks, vans, utes, and crane trucks so the investment in three electric vehicles is just the beginning in ANC’s EV journey.
“We can only have a meaningful impact by working in partnership with industry leaders, clients, and suppliers to speed up the transition to electric.
“ANC is ready for the challenge and has other major retailers ready to commit to EV.”
ANC spruiks the custom-designed cargo box, which it says stands at a slightly taller 2.5m, allowing for a larger number of bulky goods to be packed vertically at an average 17 deliveries per run rather than the standard 10-12 deliveries.
It contains built-in padded wall racking to secure and protect the goods in transit, and a Kemlite roof allows natural light into the box for greater safety when loading and unloading.
In addition to launching the EV fleet, ANC is expanding its bespoke route optimisation program to reduce average kilometres driven.
The zero-emissions commercial trucks will save an estimated 36 tonnes of CO2 per annum when compared to a typical diesel equivalent, ANC notes. READ MORE
At a launch event in Sydney on Friday, IKEA showed off two of the first seven electric trucks it has operating in Australia, with a commitment to have a quarter of all “customer fulfilment vehicles” to be electric by the next year, and a full transition to be completed by 2025.
The electric vehicles (EVs) have been trialled in Victoria since April 2018, with the electric vehicles since expanded to Sydney and Perth.
IKEA’s head of Australia and New Zealand, Jan Gardberg, said that he hoped the company’s shift to electric vehicles would act as “inspiration for others to follow”, much in the same way that IKEA got on board early with LED lighting.
“When you look at the development of consumerism, it’s the right thing to do,” Mr Gardberg said, noting the huge and continuing increase in consumer deliveries, both in Australia and worldwide.
“We don’t view this as creating a competitive edge,” he said, but rather as a “responsibility” to the planet and its inhabitants.
However, Mr Gardberg did note that there is a benefit to the retailer’s bottom line from making the shift.
“It’s not just good for the environment, but we also see it makes good business sense [for the future].”
Partner company ANC noted that the electric lorries are capable of carrying 400 kilograms more load than the diesel version of the same model, meaning fewer trips back to the loading dock.
It also said that there are benefits for drivers, as the much quieter, smoother battery engine removes the noise, vibration and heat generated by petrol and diesel-powered engines.
The electric trucks average around 250 kilometres of city-based driving before needing to be recharged, which sees them complete around 17 to 20 customer deliveries per day.
Just one of the electric trucks is estimated to save 36.3 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from being pumped into the atmosphere.
And for rev heads, the company noted that each (unloaded) truck has 1470Nm torque, effectively putting it into the same league as elite sports cars. READ MORE