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A charge point where you least expect it.

Big plug for fleets (and Govt?)

Riley Riley

Fleet operators will be encouraged to make the switch to zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) with a $127 million incentive under the Future Fuels Program.

Launched by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Future Fuels Program will provide support to fleets over the next four years.

It will operate as a competitive, open and ongoing program that aims to support vehicle fleet operators to integrate ZEVs into their operations.

ARENA was established by the Gillard Labor Government in 2012 as an independent agency to manage Australia’s renewable energy programs.

Its goal was to help the Government achieve its target for 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Since 2012 the agency has provided $1.81 billion in funding to 612 projects, unlocking a total investment of almost $7.9 billion in Australia’s renewable energy industry.

Under this new round of funding, money will be available for light vehicle fleet operators for charging and electrical infrastructure.

Heavy fleet operators will be eligible for funding towards enabling infrastructure and some support for vehicle costs.

ARENA is also looking to fund projects that incorporate hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and refuelling infrastructure.

The funding marks the next stage of the Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy released by the Federal Government in November.

In round one, $24.55 million was awarded to five companies for the construction of 403 electric vehicle fast charging stations spread across every state and territory.

The first of these charging stations was completed and opened for use by the public on November 8.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the expanded program would build on the early successes of the Future Fuels Fund and drive the shift to ZEVs.

“Assisting fleet users to move to zero emissions vehicles means getting more zero emission cars and trucks on the road sooner, driving the road transport sector toward a net zero future,” he said.

“By getting these vehicles on the road as soon as possible, we’ll reduce emissions in the short term and help to create a market for second hand vehicles in the future, giving more consumers the option of switching to a ZEV with their next vehicle purchase.”

Mr Miller said first round funding had led to the largest ever expansion of public fast charging infrastructure in Australia.

“With our support, more than 400 public fast charging stations for electric vehicles are being built across the country.

“We’re confident the Future Fuels Program will continue that great work and drive down Australia’s transport emissions.”

Following the success of the first round, the Government announced a $178 million boost including funding specifically allocated to fleet programs.

This fresh injection of money brings the total value of the Future Fuels Fund to $250 million and has enabled ARENA to launch the fleet program with $127.9 million.

Future targeted funding rounds under the program will focus on further expansions to the electric vehicle public charging network, including regional areas, as well as increasing the use of smart chargers in drivers’ homes.

ARENA has committed over $78 million to ZEV technologies since 2016, including ultra fast charging networks on major highways, home smart charging trials, next-generation biofuels and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

In October 2021, ARENA announced funding for Transgrid to develop a state of the art electric bus depot in Leichhardt, NSW, providing a blueprint for how fleet operators can incorporate charging infrastructure in Australia.

More information on the Future Fuels Fund is available here.

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