Future Fuels expands to drive zero emission fleets

ARENA’s flagship zero emissions vehicles program returns with an eye on both passenger and heavy vehicle fleets.

The Australian Government’s Future Fuels initiative, recently expanded with a further $177.7 million, has reopened with a dedicated program to shift fleet operators to zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs).

The $127 million Future Fuels Program will offer funding for light fleets, heavy fleets and hydrogen integration through an open, competitive and ongoing program through to 2025.Fleet operators will be able to apply for grants covering charging, refuelling or electrical infrastructure and vehicle costs, depending on which category they apply under.

More vehicles, sooner

The Australian Government’s Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy, unveiled in November 2021, prioritises shifting fleet operators to ZEVs to get more vehicles on the road sooner.

Accelerating the uptake of ZEVs through fleets will help stimulate demand for charging and refuelling infrastructure, making it easier for Australian motorists to make the switch to a ZEV.

Shifting large numbers of vehicles to zero emissions models is also intended to help create a larger market for second hand vehicles a few years down the track, helping bring down purchase costs and make ZEVs more accessible.

Announcing the opening of the Future Fuels Program, ARENA CEO Darren Miller said ARENA’s approach is well aligned with the Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy.

“Assisting fleet users to move to zero emissions vehicles means getting more zero emission cars 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 zero emission vehicle with their next vehicle purchase,” Mr Miller said.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the program will help Australian fleet operators shift to future fuel technologies by co-investing in EV charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

“Through co-funding the essential enabling infrastructure – such as charging stations or even electrical upgrades to three phase power – we will ensure Australian businesses can embrace technologies that will help to both save on their operation costs and reduce emissions.

“Including hydrogen refuelling as a priority area will help accelerate the decarbonisation of heavy and long-distance vehicle fleets where battery EVs may not be a viable option.

The Future Fuels Fund was initially announced by the Australian Government as part of the 2020-2021 Federal Budget, designed to advance ZEV use in Australia by partnering with the private sector through a co-investment model.

In 2021, ARENA conducted the first round of the program, aimed at expanding the public fast charging network for battery electric vehicles in major population centres.

Five companies were awarded shares in $24.55 million in grant funding to deliver more than 400 public fast charging stations in every Australian capital and adjacent regional centres.

“We are 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 emissions on Australia’s roads.” he said.

Following the first round of Future Fuels funding, in November, the Government announced a $177.7 million cash boost to the program to expand its scope and deliver on the Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy.

Now a nearly $250 million package, the Future Fuels Fund will feature later funding rounds covering smart charging at home, hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, and additional fast charging stations in metropolitan and regional areas.

The fleet funding program will operate until 2025 or until funds are exhausted.

For more information including eligibility and how to apply, visit the Future Fuels Program.