ARENA opens $128m funding round for fleets to switch to electric & hydrogen vehicles

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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced the success of the first round of its Future Fuels funding has led to a “cash boost” in the second round, enabling it to launch its fleet program with a $127.9 million envelope.

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.

Under Round 1, ARENA awarded $24.55 million to five companies for the construction of 403 electric vehicle fast charging stations spread across every state and territory. 

ARENA CEO Darren Miller described it has “the largest ever expansion of public fast charging infrastructure in Australia.” The first of these charging stations opened for public use in November 2021.

“Assisting fleet users to move to zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) means getting more zero emission cars and trucks on the road sooner, driving the road transport sector toward a net zero future,” Miller said.

“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.”

With the additional funding, the total value of the Future Fuels Fund has been brought to $250 million. The fund aims to deliver on the Future Fuels and Vehicles Strategy released by the federal government at the end of 2021.

Future targeted funding rounds under the program will focus on further expansions to the electric vehicle public charging network, including regional areas, as well as increasing the use of smart chargers in drivers’ homes, ARENA said.

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