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Paving the Way for the Future of Heavy Electric Vehicles

Queensland is paving the way for the future of heavy electric vehicles with the recent announcement of the state government’s next step in its Zero Emission Heavy Vehicle Network Map.

Heavier electric vehicles are set to be allowed to drive on certain freight routes in the state – predominantly in South East Queensland – with an eye on the further distribution and manufacturing of bigger and more powerful electric trucks in the state.

State transport minister Bart Mellish says that Queensland wants to become a nationwide and global leader in the uptake of heavy electric trucks.

“This announcement will put Queensland on the map as a leader in future electric truck manufacturing,” he says.

“As transport is one of the main contributors to Queensland’s emissions, zero emission heavy vehicles can make a significant contribution to meeting Queensland’s targets to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”

There are risks that have to be considered regarding the additional mass of these vehicles, but the state government reaffirms that zero emissions heavy vehicles are the future of the state.

This will allow electric vehicles with a steer axle mass of up to eight tonnes on freight roads in Queensland.

Minister for energy Mick de Brenni says a key part of the process was identifying which parts of the road network could best support these vehicles.

“Without trucks, Australia stops, and so decarbonising the heavy transport sector supports emissions reduction right across the economy in everything from resources to agriculture,” he says.

“I know all Queenslanders will welcome a future of locally manufactured electric trucks, because it means a creating a lasting legacy for the Australian vehicle manufacturing industry.

“The state government is determined to decarbonise Queensland industries, increase Queensland’s manufacturing opportunities, and protect and create good jobs for Queenslanders.”

This has already allowed a company like Followmont Transport, a Brisbane-based organisation, to take on delivery of the country’s first Volvo FH Electric.

The new electric prime mover. (Image: Volvo Group Australia)

The FH Electric prime mover only arrived in Australia a week before the handover in anticipation of the changing of the heavy electric vehicle rules. It will be tasked with shuttling trailers between Followmont’s Eagle Farm depot, servicing major accounts around Brisbane and running overnight linehaul to the company’s Toowoomba and Sunshine Coast depots.

The 540kWh, 666hp FH Electric prime mover is currently rated to 44 tonnes and has a range of up to 300km on a single charge. A 60kW charger has been installed on site at Followmont’s head office for overnight charging, with plans to install charging solutions further afield as the company seeks to increase reach and range.

Followmont CEO and managing director Mark Tobin says it is an exciting both for the company and the industry as a whole.

“The investment in this truck reinforces our commitment to driving positive change and supporting a sustainable future for generations to come.”

“This truck is proof that there are plenty of transport applications that can be electrified right now, not at some distant point in the future,” says Martin Merrick, president and CEO of Volvo Group Australia.

“Having partners like Followmont who are committed to joining us on our path to net zero is vital for us.

“The announcement from the Queensland government that axle mass weights will be raised for zero emission heavy vehicles in South East Queensland will make the move to battery electric a smoother transition for transport customers.”

 

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