(March 24): Tesla Inc. has called on Australia to ease vehicle-size limits so the company’s electric truck can legally fit on the country’s roads.
Australia will probably miss out on the first generation of electric heavy trucks like the Tesla Semi because of a local law that caps a vehicle’s width at 2.5 meters, the U.S. carmaker said in a Dec. 3 submission to Australia’s National Transport Commission. Tesla’s Semi is wider by just 34 millimeters.
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Australia lags the world in electric-car adoption and changing the current size limits would help “avoid replicating that mistake for heavy vehicles,” Tesla said. Electric cars accounted for 0.6% of new car sales in Australia in 2019, according to the country’s Electric Vehicle Council.
The California-based company also urged “the Commission and governments of all levels to prepare for rapid decarbonization.” This should start with “urgent changes” to vehicle design rules.
Tesla Semi delivering Tesla cars pic.twitter.com/ttEpcW5d8G
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2019
Tesla’s media office didn’t reply to an email asking if the Semi was still likely to bypass Australia. According to the company’s submission, U.S. and European Union vehicle-size limits are big enough to accommodate the Semi.
While Australia is a small market for Tesla, the impasse speaks more to the nation’s general feet dragging with respect to environmentally friendly solutions and policies. While the EU and countries from Japan to South Korea have pledged carbon neutrality by 2050, Australia has stopped short of committing to a firm deadline.
Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has been publicly critical of other places that haven’t prioritized electric cars, like Singapore. And he’s praised China for its forward-thinking stance on the environment.