The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has launched the Future Fuels Program, with a $127.9 million funding envelope to support fleets shift to zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) technology over the next four years.
ARENA said the Future Fuels Program will operate as a competitive, open and ongoing program that aims to support vehicle fleet operators integrate ZEVs into their operations.
Funding will be available for light vehicle fleet operators for charging and electrical infrastructure, while heavy fleet operators are 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 program is the latest iteration of the Australian Government’s Future Fuels Fund that is designed to drive co-investment at scale in charging and refuelling infrastructure projects for future transport needs, including electricity, hydrogen or biofuels.
Under Round 1 of the Future Fuels Fund, ARENA awarded $24.55 million 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 8 November 2021.
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.
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,” said Miller.
“ARENA is proud of what we were able to achieve with Future Fuels Round 1, with 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.” he said.
ARENA said future targeted funding rounds under the program will focus on expansion to the electric vehicle public charging network, including regional areas, as well as increasing the use of smart chargers in drivers’ homes.