On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) recently launched the $ 127.9 million Future Fuels Program to support parks transitioning to new zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) technologies over the next four years. The Future Fuels program will operate as a competitive, open, and ongoing program that aims to support fleet operators in integrating ZEV into their operations.
Funding will be available to car fleet operators for charging and electrical infrastructure, while heavy fleet operators are eligible for funding for infrastructure and some support for vehicle costs. ARENA is also committed to funding projects that include hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and refueling infrastructure.
The program is the latest iteration of the Australian Government’s Future Fuels Fund, which is designed to stimulate large-scale joint investments in infrastructure projects to charge and refuel for our future transportation needs, including electricity, hydrogen or biofuels. This funding package provides the next phase of the Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy, published by the Government of Australia on 9 November 2021.
As part of the first round of the Future Fuels Fund, ARENA awarded $ 24.55 million to five companies for the construction of 403 fast-charging stations for electric vehicles located in each state and territory. The first of these charging stations was completed and opened to the public on November 8, 2021.
The CEO of ARENA said that this expanded program will build on the first successes of the Future Fuels Fund and lead to the transition to ZEV. He noted that assisting fleet users in switching to zero-emission vehicles means that more cars and trucks with zero-emission emissions on the road faster, moving the road transport sector to a zero future.
By delivering these cars to the road as soon as possible, emissions will be reduced in the short term and help create a used car market in the future, giving more consumers the opportunity to switch to ZEV the next time they buy a car.
He added: “ARENA is proud of what we have managed to achieve with the 1st round of Future Fuels with the largest-ever expansion of public fast charging infrastructure in Australia. With our support, more than 400 public electric car charging stations are being built across the country. We are confident that the Future Fuels program will continue this great work and reduce emissions from transport in Australia. ”
Following the success of the 1st round of Future Fuels, the Australian government announced an increase in cash by $ 178 million, including funding specifically allocated to fleet programs. This fresh infusion of funds brings the total value of the Future Fuels Fund to $ 250 million and enabled ARENA to launch a fleet program with an envelope of $ 127.9 million.
Future rounds of targeted funding under the program will focus on further expanding the charging network of electric vehicles, including in regional areas, as well as expanding the use of smart chargers in drivers ’homes.
Since 2016, ARENA has allocated more than $ 78 million to ZEV technology, including high-speed charging networks on major highways, smart charging tests at home, next-generation biofuels and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.
In October 2021, ARENA announced funding for the development of a modern electric bus depot in Leichhardt, New South Wales, providing a plan on how fleet operators can include charging infrastructure in Australia.