The rise of electric vehicles in Australia’s fleet mix: Aligning with net-zero goals and supporting the transition
“The past is no longer a predictor of the future.” - Jack Kotlyar, EnergyAustralia’s Head of Green Transport.
EnergyAustralia recently hosted the HVIA Regional Awards Night for the second consecutive year. The evening celebrated leadership and innovation within the heavy vehicle industry, a sector currently undergoing a transformative shift towards cleaner and more sustainable solutions.
The spotlight during the event was on Australia’s rapid energy transition.
Jack’s speech on the occasion was a call to arms for collaborative action to ensure the transport industry’s move to clean energy is seamless and effective. He highlighted Rio Tinto’s recent decision to resize its iconic iron ore haul trucks in the Pilbara as a prime example of this change. The move from 300-tonne behemoths to a ‘mosquito fleet’ of 40-tonne trucks not only heralds environmental and productivity gains but also streamlines the transition to fleet electrification and battery recharging.
Transport and energy - The new best friends
The synergy between the transport and energy industries has never been more evident. An energy provider hosting these awards might once have raised eyebrows, but today, it represents a shared understanding that the future of heavy vehicles is electric. With transport as one of Australia’s largest sources of CO₂ emissions and heavy vehicles and buses accounting for a significant portion, electrification is pivotal to achieving national emissions reduction targets. Jack underscored the transition’s benefits for both the environment and business, noting that electric vehicles are nearly four times as efficient as internal combustion engines and increasingly affordable.
Overcoming the challenges
While some might find it hard to envision electric buses or long-distance trucks, these vehicles are already a reality, capable of covering 600 km on a single charge; with national and state goals set for 2025 and 2030, the direction towards electrification is clear. A path that mirrors California’s ambitious plans for all new trucks to be electric by 2045.
But what truly excites industry experts is the integration of the grid, chargers, solar, and batteries. Jack drew an analogy with Australia’s growth post-war, when energy kept pace with rapid development, to reassure attendees that electrification in transport is within reach: ‘For those that say we can’t electrify, I say bollocks.’
EnergyAustralia is keen to partner with fleet owners to address the complexities of integrating solar, batteries, and the grid while prioritising safety and cost-effective solutions, and we are already collaborating with several participants present that evening.
Prioritising the use of clean energy
Another critical theme of the night was the commitment to using clean energy. In the National Energy Market (NEM) region forecasts by Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) indicate that Australia could increase its renewable energy share from 15% in 2020 to 82% by 2030, with grid-scale batteries and pumped hydro playing vital roles.
The event, attended by Senator the Hon. Carol Brown, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, members of the HVIA Executive Club and leaders of the transport industry, concluded with well-wishes for the award finalists. This underlined the industry’s collaborative spirit and commitment to leading the clean energy transformation.
EnergyAustralia is already working alongside industry partners, driving forward a cleaner future for all.