The Tesla Semi may find a market in Australia, thanks to a new law from the Australian government that allows wider trucks on the country’s roads.
The new law, which was announced earlier this month, increases the maximum width of trucks by 50 mm to 2.55 meters. This was, at least, if they were equipped with advanced safety systems. The Tesla Semi fits this bill, as the Class 8 all-electric truck is outfitted with a variety of active and passive safety features.
As noted in a report from Drive.au, Tesla Australia had previously lobbied the government to make the change, as the country’s existing 2.5-meter width limit prevented the company from bringing the Tesla Semi to market. Tesla Australia’s Public Policy Manager Sam McLean highlighted this in December 2020.
“The clearest immediate barrier from Tesla’s perspective is Australia’s 2500mm width limit in ADR 43/04. The Commission will be aware that given Australia’s small size in comparison to global markets, inconsistencies like this between Australian regulations and larger markets will delay or preclude vehicles coming to local markets.
“Currently, Australia will likely miss out on the first generation of electric heavy vehicles such as the Tesla Semi because of this,” McLean noted.
While Australia appears to have opened the door for vehicles like the Tesla Semi, there may be more challenges that the electric vehicle maker may face. The Tesla Semi’s center driving seat may still need to be evaluated if it complies with Australian Design Rules (ADR).
James Stewart, road safety expert and director of advanced driver-training firm Driving Solutions, warned that Australia’s road systems must be upgraded first before larger vehicles are allowed.
“It’s smart to get electric vehicles on the roads, but the road system has to be upgraded accordingly – sooner or later, Australia needs to go to a standardized road width. The biggest issue is the size of the road. When you’re talking motorways, you can get away with it (the proposed regulation changes) fairly easily, but when you start looking at most of the rural roads in Australia, they’re not built for that size,” Stewart said.
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