With all of the growing hype around electric trucks, fuel cells and hydrogen power, PowerTorque will be mapping out the alternative power sources of the future for the trucking industry in our Alt-Power series over the coming months.
There is no doubt that a wave of technological change is about to break over the truck industry. In the last five or so years there has been a lot of talk about potential power sources to be used by the trucking industry as the world transitions across to a zero carbon economy.
Although climate change denial has meant little action has been taken by the Australian government to set real emission reduction targets, the rest of the world is setting itself ever more ambitious dates to reach zero net carbon emissions. At the same time, here in Australia there has been a tendency from the large corporates to move to lower emissions, in line with the rest of the developed world.
Australia is a technology taker, we are not a big enough economy to drive global technological change. We have to take what the rest of the world is using and adapt it to the special conditions our trucks have to work in.
Allied to this, the fact that we know that our major suppliers of trucks are pivoting away from the traditional diesel powered solution and working towards zero emission solutions throughout their ranges. The Australian trucking industry is certain to be getting some new technology in the future.
Looking into the future can be a dangerous task, especially with so much at stake. One of the most difficult aspects to predict is the timescale over which the situation will change. However, we do know that many countries in Europe are talking about banning internal combustion engined cars within the next twenty years.
Mapping out the alternative power sources of the future for Australia is going to be complex, the transition is going to be harder for the truck building industry as the challenge is greater when handling higher mass. Solutions are already on the roads in some places, so the process has already begun.
The transition is going to take some time as the current old technology vehicles work through their lifecycle. The average age of trucks on the road here in Australia is around 14 years, so it will take some time to work through the transition once it gets going.