Industry News

Zero Carbon Creating Uncertainty

In the current environment, with a drive for zero carbon creating uncertainty about the future, the Truck Industry Council, which represents the truck manufacturers in Australia, has decided it will need to make an ongoing input to inform truck buyers and those developing technology around trucks, to inform them about the realities of developing these technologies and how it may affect industry performance.

Questions about how this new technology can be integrated into transport businesses and how it can be best utilised, will need to be answered. The industry will also need to know how it can be used to best serve the interests of the transport industry’s customers

The first report has been published by the TIC, as the ‘Low and Zero Emission Truck Market Update’. This is the first of what is planned to become a series of reports over the coming years. As the technology developed, the TIC has decided it will present the reality of historical and current trends in the zero and low carbon technology.

It will also present sales data in the low and zero carbon emissions sector, and this update will become a regular feature in the reporting of heavy vehicle sales in the Australian market, complementing current monthly whole of market sales data.

Market Awareness

The trucking industry has been made seriously aware of the need to move toward zero emissions, in many cases by its major customers, who, as large corporates have been tasked with ensuring that their businesses are moving towards carbon zero. The operations which provide services to those businesses are also expected them in the move towards zero carbon emissions.

“Never before has there been such a coordinated effort to transition your Australian truck fleet as there is now from national and state governments and big business down through suppliers, academia and society in general,” says the Low and Zero Emission Truck Market Update. “The momentum is building with the publication of this market update and regular sales reporting going forward.

“The aim is to inform all parties including government and regulators, as well as truck operators with information that assists them to make sound decisions regarding policy and regulations and the adoption and purchase of these new technologies.”

The reality of zero empty trucks is all in the future. Very few who have actually been sold and a on the roads of Australia. From 2008 to 2021 only 0.1 per cent of all new trucks sold in Australia were low or zero emission trucks.

99.9 per cent of those sales were, of course, powered by diesel. 2022 saw the first glimmers of genuine interest in low and zero emission trucks. At the end of June 2023 0.5 per cent of new truck sales were classified as low or zero emission trucks.

The industry can expect this rise to accelerate in the coming years as interest in zero emission vehicles increases and the ability, and the capacity, of the truck manufacturers to supply these vehicles also comes online.

There are particular issues for the Australian truck and trucking industry and this is the fact that the average age of a truck in Australia is 15 years and there are almost 750,000 diesel trucks on our roads.

“There is no option to replace these trucks overnight,” points out the TIC. “There will not be a light switch moment. The starting point in Australia is for all stakeholders to acknowledge the need for a realistic transition plan.

“The role of TIC, as Australia’s peak industry association for truck manufacturers and importers, is to advocate on issues relating to the nation’s heavy vehicle truck fleet on behalf of its members and communicate to stakeholders a realistic pathway to achieving reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

The real issue before us all in road freight transport at the moment is to strive to ensure ambition meets reality.”


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