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Electric trucks start their engines in Australia | ticker VIEWS

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Volvo Group is leading the way for the global shift to electric trucks

Volvo Trucks are using an electric truck model, which will benefit the environment and the driver.

On Ticker Climate this week, the Environment and Innovation Director of Volvo Trucks in Sweden, Lars Martensson, shared the latest details on the shift to electric.

Electric trucks in Australia

Logistics company Linfox will work with Volvo, to use their electric trucks in Australia. Volvo’s electric trucks are already used reguarly in Sweden, Europe and North America. Yet, Volvo will now bring its large heavy trucks to Australia.

As electric vehicle production ramps up worldwide, there is an increasing demand to adapt to this model.

How do they work?

In a boost for sustainability, the trucks are all battery-electric.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have an electric motor, instead of an internal combustion engine. The vehicle uses a large battery pack to power the electric motor.

In the case of an electric truck, it uses a computer to signal through to an inverter. The inverter releases electrons from the battery pack, that can be used by the electric motor.

Electric vehicles can be referred to as battery electric vehicles.

They emit no exhaust and do not contain any typical liquid fuel components, such as a fuel pump, fuel line, or fuel tank.

Another major advantage of electric motor-driven trucks is the ability to provide regenerative braking. Unlike diesel, an electric motor can recover energy by sending charging current back into the batteries, in a controlled process.

However, the truck’s battery has to be plugged into an electrical outlet or charging equipment. Most electric vehicles can go a similar distance to petrol or diesel vehicles. There does need to be regular charging stations along the way.

The Volvo trucks can be recharged overnight, at the home depots. For the remainder of the time, they can recharged during the trips. They have a driving range of up to 300km.

They will be used for local distribution, regional distribution, and construction.

“For example, in Europe, it will make up 50%  of freight transport.”

Lars Martensson

Why go electric?

The shift to electric helps to fight climate change and has significant benefits for the drivers’ health.

Traditionally trucks operate using diesel fuel. Diesel exhaust comes from engines burning diesel fuel. It is a complex mixture of gases, vapors, liquid aerosols, and particulate substances. These substances are the products of combustion.

The main chemical components of diesel exhaust emissions are gases and vapours. Gases and vapours are the gases found in air like nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour, and carbon dioxide.

There are also hazardous chemicals like nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide.

Fine particles known as diesel particulate matter are hazardous chemicals. They act like gas and stay airborne for long periods of time. They are extremely detrimental to the drivers’ health by penetrating deep into the lungs. 

The shift to electric will also help to cut back on greenhouse emissions.

Cars, trucks, public transport, domestic flight, and shipping are the second-largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in Australia. 

The sector emitted 102 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018, representing 18% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas pollution. Transport emissions increased the most as a percentage of any sector since 1990.

“There are emissions from diesel trucks, which cause pollution in terms of the cities and smog but also in terms of local pollution.”

“There are also fine particles which go deep into the lungs.”

Scott Hamilton

Ditch dependence on diesel imports

Diesel is crucial to Australia’s energy security as it underpins our critical infrastructure, transport sector, and important industries, such as mining and agriculture. It is also critical during an emergency for essential services.  

Australia currently has only about 18 days of diesel fuel security. More than 90 per cent of petrol and diesel in Australia is imported from Singapore, South Korea, Japan, China, and the USA.

Australia is down to only a couple of oil refineries now, yet the Federal Government is using taxpayers dollars to keep them afloat.

“So much for ‘technology not taxes’ approach to energy policy,” 

Scott Hamilton

We can learn from other countries and businesses. Power company Copel and the State of Parana, in Brazil, worked together to maximise transition to electric vehicles by investing in re-fuelling developments. This included commercial, residential, and government services.

Copel determined it could make more money from selling coffee at refueling stations than it would ever make from selling electricity for vehicles.

“With diesel fuel security sitting about 18 days and the rising price of oil, diversification in electric and other zero-emission power fuels is a no brainer. Helping save the plant is a bonus.” 

“I think we are going to see the same rapid uptake of electric vehicles as we have seen with people putting solar PV on their roofs”

“Linfox is again showing leadership by driving these new clean technologies into the Australian market,”

Scott Hamilton 

Government support

According to Martensson, the Swedish Government and Europe more broadly have been incredibly supportive of the electric movement.

To run effectively and efficiently in Australia, Volvo will require the support of the Government. There needs to be considerable investment into the research, development, and infrastructure.

The trucks require recharging stations and specific infrastructure to run efficently.

However, the exact plan and logistics for Volvo Trucks to operate in Australia hasn’t be revealed yet.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Volvo is going to work with battery company Northvolt to deliver Electric vehicles with a range of 1000km. The two companies will produce batteries with renewable energy to lower carbon emissions.

In addition, they will increase energy density by about 50%  and their batteries will present a 1,000 Wh/l energy density.

Watch the full episode of Ticker Climate here:

Ticker Climate

Climate

Concerns a Typhoon will hit Tokyo during the Olympics

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It’s the last thing Tokyo needs right as the Opening Ceremony is getting underway

Meteorologists are watching out for a typhoon which is forming off the south coast of Japan.

It could reach Tokyo by the end of the weekend, on day two of the Games.

The storm is yet to be fully formed, making trajectory predictions extremely difficult for storm trackers.

Japan is experiencing tropical conditions with temperatures over 30 degrees celsius expected throughout the Games.

Here’s where it’s heading

The area of low pressure southeast of Japan is expected to gather strength and move northwestward

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Business

Tesla strikes deal with BHP Group, protecting an EV future

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One of the worlds biggest EV carmakers has protected itself from a future supply crunch

Tesla has struck a nickel-supply deal with BHP Group.

The Elon Musk-led company is seeking to protect itself from a future supply crunch.

BHP will provide the electric-carmaker with the metal from its Nickel West operation in Western Australia.

In a statement, BHP stated that the two companies would work together to make the battery supply chain more sustainable.

Growing concern of future nickel supplies

Telsa’s billionaire boss, Elon Musk, has repeatedly expressed concern about future supplies of nickel due to challenges in sustainable sourcing.

Musk has pleaded with miners to produce more nickel, with demand set to skyrocket as the world increasingly moves toward electric vehicles and phase out internal combustion engine cars.

Nickel is a key component in lithium-ion batteries

The product is used in electric vehicles – and Tesla needs it greatly.

It packs more energy into batteries and allows producers to reduce use of cobalt, which is more expensive and has a less transparent supply chain.

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Climate

Australia blocks UNESCO from ruling the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” from climate change

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Australia now has enough global support to avoid UNESCO listing the Great Barrier Reef as an “in danger” World Heritage Site until at least 2023

In June, the 12 countries in UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted for a draft ruling that the Great Barrier Reef was in danger of losing its World Heritage status due to the impacts of climate change.

Since then, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been busy lobbying Europe. During her tour, she visited eight countries in a bid to gain support to reject the danger listing.

The Australian government successfully garnered support from 12 other countries to delay the decision until 2023. This is enough for a clear majority.

The countries include Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Hungary, Mali, Nigeria, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, and Uganda.

Ley’s defence is the original process was politicised and didn’t follow due process including a site visit. She also alleges that UNESCO “unfairly targeted” Australia over its climate policy.

“If it is being proposed on the basis of the very real threat of global climate change, then there are any number of international World Heritage Sites that should be subject to the same process,” Ley said.

“I agree that global climate change is the single biggest threat to the world’s reefs. But it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best-managed reef in the world for an ‘in danger’ listing.”

“The question is why does the Australian government need two years to report back to the Committee if it accepts urgent action is needed?”

Coral experts in Australia have largely praised UNESCO’s suggestion to list the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’. Global warming poses an immanent threat to the reef’s survival.

One climate change expert Scott Hamilton believes the Australian Federal Government isn’t doing enough to protect the reef.

“It’s time the Australian Federal Government started fighting the causes of the disease when it comes to climate change, rather than dealing with the symptoms.”

“If the Australian Federal Government spent as much effort tackling climate as it does fighting the UNESCO World Heritage body, we might actually stop destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.”

If passed, the amendment would give Australia until December 2022 to submit its case for the health of the reef. The Committee would then consider the proposal at it annual session in 2023. This typically happens in the middle of the year.

If UNESO decides to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef to ‘in danger’, it could mean trouble for Australia’s federal government. The country is due for a federal election June next year. There are also concerns that the decision could hurt international tourism.

The reef is a major income source for Central Queensland, raking in over $6 billion every day. The Great Barrier reef also supports approximately 60,000 jobs.

WWFA’s head of oceans, Richard Leck, rejected Australia’s proposed amendment.

He said, “it doesn’t change UNESCO’s technical and scientific advice recommending urgent action on climate change and water pollution”.

One report found that if the earth warms by 2 degrees, it will mean certain destruction for 99% of the reef. Three major bleaching events since 2016 have also posed a huge risk to the reef.

Although most developed countries are aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 or earlier, Australia is yet to set a deadline to reach net zero emissions.

Author

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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