Following the Japan Mobility Show, Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) is considering what a zero-emission transport future might look like in Australia.
In arriving at the best combination of zero emission product and support for the Australian consumer, IAL Chief of Strategy, Grant Cooper, said there is a need to understand their perceptions and preferences very clearly.
“In terms of the ‘road to zero’ as it is being called, there is a level of assumed knowledge and consensus here,” he said.
“We simply must take the deliberate steps required for a cleaner, more efficient, zero tailpipe emission road transport future.
“As a concept, a zero-emission future is as timely as it necessary, but we must explore and understand the appetite of Australian operators for turning it into a reality.”
The road to zero in Australia, according to Cooper, will heavily depend on customer preference.
IAL’s product development approach in recent years has, as a key part of this, seen the commissioning of longitudinal research which takes the form of the Isuzu Future of Trucking (FoT) report.
The report presents follow-up data from a survey of over 1,000 Australian stakeholders within the trucking and road transport sector who provided their perspectives initially in 2019 and again in 2023.
The survey aims to examine emerging patterns in the trucking market post-pandemic and to identify key insights that will likely influence the industry in the coming years.
The findings also uncover sentiment around the appetite for a zero-emission future as well the perceptions of electric vehicle (EV) product in the Australian market.
“The data provides a rare insight into the thought process of end users, which in-turn works to inform transport solutions that we see at events like the Japan Mobility Show,” Cooper said.
“The good news is that Australian transport businesses are well and truly considering adopting a zero-emission strategy for their own truck fleets, with a huge 91 per cent in favour according to the FoT report.”
Although this is a positive sign, Cooper said, only ten per cent of businesses are considering implementing a zero-emission strategy right now.
However, 70 per cent of businesses are looking at implementing a zero-emission strategy within a timeframe of two to five years.
“These findings are in-line with other research we’ve conducted with some of the country’s largest road transport fleets,” he said.
In terms of the strictly zero (tailpipe) emission methodologies fleets are considering, battery electric is an overwhelming preference followed by hydrogen fuel cell, and then the hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE), which has gained considerable momentum since Isuzu last conducted the survey.
“The consensus remains that battery electric vehicles are the most realistic and widely feasible form of zero-emission vehicles able to be meaningfully applied in Australia, right now.”
According to Cooper, a sustained focus on electrifying the right trucks for the right tasks puts IAL in a good stead to make a considered and sensible transition away from a reliance on internal combustion technology.