Victoria and NSW accelerate down automated/EV road

Bosch wins trial grant as ALC and EV Council back policy development

Victoria and NSW accelerate down automated/EV road
There have been some strong moves on the local EV and automated vehicle fronts


The nation’s two biggest state economies are pressing ahead automated vehicle developments, with Victoria tapping Bosch for a trial on rural roads and New South Wales getting Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) backing for its EV policy push.

Bosch has been awarded $2.3 million from the $9 million Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Trial Grants Program and granted the state’s first Automated Driving System (ADS) permit for on-road testing of highly automated driving systems.

The move will see Bosch trial its technology to improve safety on rural Victorian roads – where drivers are five times as likely to be killed in a crash than in metropolitan areas.

The testing will be conducted on roads that "expose the automated vehicle to a range of different conditions including traffic, weather and infrastructure", the Victorian government says.

Bosch Australia president Gavin Smith says his company "is eager to commence this trial with technologies that will show how we can improve road safety and reduce road trauma on rural roads".

In late 2017, VicRoads called for expressions of interest from companies, industry bodies and other transport technology organisations to apply for funding to spur the development of these emerging technologies, with a view to reduced deaths and serious injuries. Other successful applicants will be announced soon.

Read about Freightliner’s plans for local advanced driving technology, here

Meanwhile, the EVC describes the New South Wales government's newly announced electric vehicle policy as an important step along the path to cleaning the state's air of vehicle pollution, according to the Electric Vehicle Council.

The new policy, announced by NSW roads minister Melinda Pavey and transport minister Andrew Constance, includes $5 million to delivering new charging infrastructure and a 10 per cent target for electric vehicles in the NSW Government's passenger vehicle fleet by 2020/21.

The moves are predominantly motorist focused.

"More people are embracing electric and hybrid vehicles and we need to do our part to ensure we have the infrastructure in place so that people are confident to use these vehicles right across the state," Constance says.

"That’s why we’re planning fast charging points for major regional corridors including the Newell, Great Western, New England, Pacific and Princes Highways and the Hume Motorway.

"In the coming weeks we will commence market soundings for charging points to ensure we get the best value for money and identify the right locations by co-investing with industry."

Pavey says NSW’s move, related her state’s own CAV plan, also aims to boost the government’s EV and hybrid fleet to being one of the nation’s largest.  

"This initiative will give confidence and certainty to electric vehicle manufacturers as well as provide greater access to a wider choice of affordable electric vehicles in the future for motorists."

The ALC regards the move as entirely necessary from a freight point of view.

"If freight logistics operators are going to make the switch to electric vehicles, they must have confidence they will be able to charge those vehicles when and where they need to," new ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says.

"The ALC Electric Vehicles Working Group has clearly identified a lack of confidence in the availability of charging infrastructure as a barrier to greater uptake of electric vehicles in the industry.

"This point was heavily emphasised in the submission ALC made to Transport for NSW last year, as the plan released today was being developed.

"ALC is pleased that today’s announcement addresses this issue and specifically commits to the installation of fast-charging points for electric and hybrid vehicles on key regional routes, including the Newell, Great Western, New England, Pacific and Princes Highways and the Hume Motorway.

"Given the centrality of these corridors to the safe and efficient movement of freight throughout NSW, it is crucial that the NSW government involves the freight logistics industry when considering the design and location of this charging infrastructure, so that it delivers the right outcomes for industry participants.

"ALC also notes the release of the NSW Government’s plan for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) today.

"As the plan makes clear, governments need to act now to establish the right regulatory frameworks to allow CAVs to operate safely on Australian roads.

"In particular, it is important that clear protocols are established regarding the use of data, so that the productivity and safety benefits of CAVs can be realised."

"Above all, it will be imperative for NSW to ensure it works cooperatively with other jurisdictions and the Commonwealth as both these plans are rolled out, so that cross-border regulatory inconsistencies do not impede national supply chain efficiency."

EVC says the new policy is welcome, particularly from an anti-pollution angle.

"The policy announced today by the NSW Government is desperately needed," CEO Behyad Jafari says.

"A mass switch to electric vehicles would improve the lives of every citizen and make New South Wales a better state.

"Cost of living pressure would ease if we broke our dependence on imported petrol. Carbon emissions would drop. And if the smoke and noise of combustion engines was phased out, our cities would become healthy and beautiful places to live.

"That's why the electric vehicle industry welcomes this policy as an important first step. It is an affirmation from the state government that a mass move toward electric vehicles is coming and we’re getting on with the job of making sure it happens here sooner rather than later.

"Plans like the one outlined today are an important nudge toward dislodging the boulder from the top of the mountain.

"Once momentum swings in behind electric vehicles, the shift will come quickly and investment will flow.

"There's no sugar coating reality: Australia is the world's laggard when it comes to electric vehicle take up. And that's simply not good enough when you're talking about a smart state like New South Wales.

"We can do much better and we are eager to continue working with the NSW Government to deliver progress."


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