Grants and funding, Manufacturing News, Sustainability

New funding to help electric trucks hit the road

Australia’s first 112 battery-electric vehicle (BEV) trucks to make last-mile deliveries (LMD) will soon hit the roads in metro areas thanks to funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s.

The $12.8 million in funding from ARENA was from the company’s Driving the Nation Fund.

Freight and logistics provider ANC will use the funding to unlock the $45.5 million Project Spark, which will address barriers in electrifying the truck owner-driver segment to further drive fleet decarbonisation.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said Project Spark marks ARENA’s first foray into LMD and builds on the agency’s investments in the electrification of buses, and road freight and logistics.

“The breadth of innovation in Project Spark, across both supply and demand-side measures, is commercially astute, practically workable, and very exciting,” said Miller.

“The project demonstrates use cases for battery electric trucks in last mile operations, tackling constraints that have so far made it hard for the industry to transition away from internal combustion engine vehicles.”

Currently, owner-drivers considering BEV trucks face higher capital costs, limited access to charging infrastructure, costly and complex private charging options, and constrained revenue potential.

ANC designed Project Spark to leverage commercial and technological levers to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) of BEV trucks for owner-drivers, supported by a range of partners including CarBon, Origin Energy, SpotLumos, and others.

ANC’s proposal to offer discounted trucks with leasing options, improve battery-charging and vehicle-utilisation models, and unlock new revenue streams aims to resolve these challenges.

Project Spark’s charging model couples Origin Energy’s overnight charging-as-a-service (CaaS) from home with fast-charging services at depots and in public to enable owner-drivers to meet LMD requirements.

“With this support, we will expedite the deployment of battery electric vehicles, reducing emissions and leading the charge towards a net zero emissions delivery ecosystem. We are poised to make a substantial impact on the market, and more importantly, on the environment,” said ANC CEO, Joe Sofra.

The Australian Government’s Driving the Nation Fund has $500 million to invest in cheaper and cleaner transport, including in charging innovation and fleet.

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