The Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) has criticised the inclusion of ‘hydrogen highways’ in the National Electric Vehicle Strategy as outdated and inefficient.

AEVA says the strategy for establishing hydrogen refueling networks for key routes claiming hydrogen’s potential benifits for long-distance freight transport is already out of date.

The President of AEVA, Dr Chris Jones, says the recent emergence of rapid battery-swapping services, combined with the conversion of heavy trucks from diesel to electric power, have eliminated any potential benefit for hydrogen in the long-distance freight sector.

Scania has announced a new truck with a battery capable of driving 1.5 million km over its lifetime and Tesla has already commenced production of its semi truck which has a 1000km range. Meanwhile hydrogen trucks face unavoidable thermodynamic efficiency problems that mean they use up to 5 times the energy that electric trucks need.

“The Federal Government needs to study the model developed by the likes of Janus Electric (a company based on the NSW Central Coast) before investing in hydrogen refueling networks.’ Dr Jones said.

Last week Janus announced a 12 month trial of its electric truck that is capable of hauling up to 165 tonnes – the potential weight of a triple road train – at a range of between 200kms and 400kms on a single charge.

“Hydrogen has significant value as a chemical feedstock and reducing agent for iron and other valuable metals. While hydrogen may have a role to play in international shipping or aviation, it’s simply too energy inefficient to serve a useful role in land transport.” said Jones.

Instead, AEVA wants to see the Federal Government provide investment support for the conversion of heavy vehicles to electric drive, and for more freight to be moved with electric trains.

AEVA also calling for easing of parallel import regulations

In a seperate press release AEVA said it is also disappointed the federal government’s National EV Strategy ignores the equity benefits that would flow from allowing a wider range of used EVs to enter Australia as ‘parallel imports’.

Dr Jones, said many Australians simply cannot afford to purchase a new EV, but the local used EV market is still very much in its infancy.

“There’s still a few years before EVs in Australian corporate fleets complete their leases. Parallel imports of used EVs should be facilitated into the market, especially while the supply of affordable EVs is so tight” he said.

Current regulations around the direct importation of vehicles are onerous and restrictive, despite there being no domestic light vehicle manufacturing industry to protect.

The Association believes that if these regulations were eased, more affordable EVs – primarily used low-frills vehicles with adequate range – would be available to lower-income Australian families.

“The AEVA would like to see Australia adopt the New Zealand scheme, where parallel imports are permitted for previously released models. This affords more EV options to Australian households.” said Jones.

The National Secretary of AEVA, Warwick Cathro, who owns a 2018 Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, says it is absurd this EV cannot be imported from the UK as a used car.

“Dealers in Australia have been servicing this model for over 4 years”, he said. “Very minimal changes would be required to allow this model to drive on Australian roads.” said Cathro.

AEVA is also calling for restrictions to be lifted on the direct importation of used electric motorcycles and scooters. Unencumbered by steering wheel location, Australians would have access to the global electric motorcycle market.

Extracted in full from: EV advocates rail against hydrogen highways and used EV import bans (