An Urgent Need for Legislative Change

an urgent need for legislative change

Volvo characterise the near future as one of the more exciting and disruptive periods in road transport industry, but, and it’s a big but, there is an urgent need for legislative change, according to the company, at an event in Brisbane.

“What does this mean for us here in Australia?” said Martin Merrick, President, Volvo Group Australia. “Our aim is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. Our company vehicles, and if we transport our trucks from the factory to our customers, they will be fuelled by HVO. All of our facilities in Australia, from January 1st will consume 100 per cent green energy.”

Most of the target will come from Volvo trucks that are used by its customers reducing carbon emissions. The company reckons it can sell enough zero emission trucks to reduce the resulting carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and be at net zero by 2040.

an urgent need for legislative change
Martin Merrick, President, Volvo Group Australia


“When we look at Australia, people ask whether electric vehicles will be suitable for Australia,” said Merrick. “35 per cent of the freight task is covered in urban areas and that is perfect and ideal for battery electric vehicles. So it can’t be done. The disappointing thing has been the National Electric Vehicle strategy having very little comment on heavy duty transport. We really need a policy to accelerate the adoption rate of battery electric vehicles. 

“Legislation is the main part, if we have a policy for incentives like we have in Europe that will accelerate the adoption rate. Our customers today believe if they can get legislation change, they can charge at base, operate for a day and get back again, particularly in that 35 per cent of the task. Of course, we need more infrastructure for charging than what we have right now.

“We have set our target to build these trucks right here, by 2027. If we don’t get legislation change, then we won’t meet those targets. If we focus on heavy duty trucks, then we get a better reduction in greenhouse gases. The average passenger car produces 2.84 tonnes of CO2 per year, but a semi trailer truck produces 101 tonnes per year.”

an urgent need for legislative change

If we electrify 10 urban delivery trucks that reduces emissions by the same amount as that produced by 56 households in Australia. Total freight transported by road is estimated at 224 million tonnes kilometres per year and trucks account for 77 per cent of that. Every tonne of lithium mined has the potential to create 200 EV batteries. If that tonne is used for passenger vehicles that would reduce 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. If that same material is used in batteries for heavy duty vehicles, the reduction is 900 tonnes. 

“It’s clear where we should focus our strategy,” said Merrick. “This is not just theory, it’s happening here today. We have these trucks lined up at the starting gate. It’s not when or if, we are here right now. We have got customers here that are committed already and more to come.

“Our customers are committed and our mission should be clear. I strongly urge governments at all levels to work together, create a task force and deal with this legislation issue. Then we can really reduce gas emissions here in Australia. We have the technology, we have the factory, we have the dealer network, we have the customers and we are ready.”


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