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ARENA funds electric commercial mobility

A major round of ARENA funding supports electric transport and rental fleets

11 Mar 2024

THE Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has backed transport and rental fleets with a fresh wave of funding from its $500 million Driving the Nation Fund.


The Federal Government-funded agency, tasked with supporting the transition to net zero emissions, uses the fund to invest in cheaper and cleaner transport across business fleets, new technology and charging infrastructure.


Three Western Australia-based transport operators received a share of $21.8 million this week, which aims to decarbonise the freight sector across ports, road transport and government fleets.


Industrial freight provider Centurion was given $15.8 million, which will be used to roll out 30 battery-electric trucks and 15 dual-port chargers at its Hazelmere depot.


The funding will contribute to Centurion’s $29 million off-grid truck fleet, consisting of 30 Mercedes-Benz eActros models (pictured) which will be charged by a four megawatt solar and battery system.


Centurion plans to use the renewable energy-powered fleet around metropolitan Perth, as it pursues a net-zero future across its national transport operation.


“This project represents a significant step in Centurion’s decarbonisation journey and continues our work towards an operational future with net zero emissions,” said Centurion chief executive, Justin Cardaci.


“Centurion actively seeks to deploy technology where it’s ready to displace the diesel transport equivalent and the ARENA funding certainly helps support the project’s economics.”


Container operator Patrick Terminals received $2.5 million to be used to reduce emissions at the largest port in Western Australia, deploying nine battery-electric terminal trucks and two dual-port DC fast chargers.


The electric terminal trucks will replace eight diesel models currently in use at the Fremantle Port, representing the first battery-electric vehicle deployment for 24/7 use within the industry.


“The project, supported by an allocation of $2.5 million from ARENA funding, allows Patrick Terminals to lead the port industry’s transition to electric vehicles, deploying nine cutting-edge battery electric terminal trucks and fast chargers at our Fremantle operations,” said Patrick Terminals chief executive, Michael Jovicic.


“The introduction of electric terminal equipment at our Fremantle operations is an exciting initiative that demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing capital in our Fremantle terminal to support longevity of port operations whilst also aligning with our commitment to decarbonising our operations.”


ARENA also awarded $3.5 million to the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), which plans to introduce 129 electric vehicles and required charging infrastructure for use across 22 local government fleets.


“These three projects demonstrate a variety of vehicles and use cases for EVs including industries that have previously proved challenging to reduce vehicle emissions,” said ARENA chief executive, Mr Darren Miller.


“This is exactly what ARENA’s Driving the Nation program is for; testing and demonstrating new use cases for electrical vehicles to prove the business case for low emissions transport.


Additionally, major rental industry player Europcar Mobility Group received $4.76 million in funding as part of the Electric Rental Vehicle and Charging Infrastructure Rollout project.


The funding will contribute to a $110.6 million project that will see 256 chargers installed at 41 sites around the country, including airports, metropolitan areas and regional hubs, to support 3100 electric rentals the company plans to roll out across the next three years.


Europcar intends to use the EVs for up to two years within its rental fleet, before reselling the vehicles through an established dealer network.


“Europcar Mobility Group is a leader in sustainability and the decarbonisation of transport globally and we are excited to be working with ARENA on ways to support and accelerate the take up of EVs,” said Europcar Mobility Group managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Benoit Garel.


“Europcar is proud to be leading the charge in the transformation of Australia’s rental car industry toward a sustainable, electric future by educating drivers, making it easier and more affordable to make the switch to EVs and providing a premium customer experience along the way.”


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