In 2022, Volvo Group celebrated 50 years of manufacturing Volvo Trucks in Australia. And in 2023 the 75,000th truck across all brands was rolled off the production line. As we enter a phase of fleet electrification and alternative fuel technologies, the future of the Volvo factory remains secure with confirmation that there are plans to build electric powered Volvo trucks in Waco QLD from 2027.
Martin Merrick, President of Volvo Group Australia, shared at the Volvo Sustainability Summit that there are 1,500 passionate and committed manufacturing team members in Australia with 50 global engineers working with procurement and other teams to design and build trucks specifically for Australian conditions. Each one leaves the factory proudly displaying the Australian Made logo.
Unfortunately Volvo can’t start building the electric trucks with the current heavy vehicle legislation. The industry is calling for changes to be adopted that will allow heavy vehicles that meet the European specification onto Australian roads. The changes appear to be minor and are supported by most industry players, though for some reason they are taking a long time to move through the government approval stages.
“Volvo is leading the transformation globally. And I’m convinced here in Australia we are seen as leading the transformation. We have over 80 orders (for electric trucks) in the pipeline,” Merrick explained.
“We really need the policy to accelerate the adoption rate for battery electric vehicles. Legislation is the main part,” explains Merrick. “Our customers today believe if we can actually get legislation change, we can handle the charging, particularity for the 35% of freight tasks that are done in urban areas.”
“I need to be clear on this, the barrier we have right now is legislation. It is our intention to build these trucks here by 2027. I have to be clear, if we don’t get legislation changes, then we won’t meet our targets (for reducing emissions).”
“So we are already committed. We’ve been committed for over 50 years. We’re going to be committed for another 50 years or so. The customers are committed.”
“Again, the mission is clear. I strongly urge governments of all levels to work together to create a task force and deal with the legislation issue now. Then we can really take down the greenhouse gas emissions here at Australia.”
“We have the technology; we have a factory; we have a dealer network. We have the customers and we are ready.”