IKEA to piece together electric truck charging network

Furniture giant IKEA has revealed plans to assemble a $4.5 million electric truck charging network as part of its drive towards zero-emission deliveries.

The Swedish firm announced its investment on Friday, revealing the network built by JET Charge would include charging stations at its 10 Australian retail locations as well as its Sydney distribution centre.

The investment is one of the biggest in electric delivery vehicles, coming after low-emission transport commitments from companies including Team Global Express and Woolworths.

IKEA Australia zero-emissions delivery lead Alexandra Kelly told AAP the decision to invest in charging stations was made to meet IKEA's global target of 100 per cent zero-emission truck deliveries by 2025.

Currently, 40 per cent of IKEA deliveries are made using electric trucks but Ms Kelly said a lack of charging infrastructure was proving a hurdle for its delivery partners, Australian National Couriers, Kings Transport and All Purpose Transport.

"We identified that a lot of challenges in the market were related to two things: the cost of vehicles and access to charging infrastructure," she said.

"The public network really supports passenger vehicles so if a van or a truck tries to use a passenger vehicle charger they may not fit in the parking bay."

The firm's $4.5 million investment will see six electric vehicle chargers installed at each Australian IKEA store, in addition to 28 charging stations at its distribution centre in Marsden Park, Sydney.

Ms Kelly said the network would feature a mix of slower AC chargers and high-power DC chargers to accommodate overnight and top-up recharging, and she hoped the announcement would motivate other retail chains to embrace an electric transport future.

"This is a really exciting investment and I think it will shift the way other retailers look at their investments supporting the transition," she said.

"Hopefully, it will inspire change."

JET Charge chief executive Tim Washington said IKEA's decision to invest in large electric vehicles, and to advertise them with bright signage, would get customers and rival businesses talking.

He said Australians should expect to see a lot more low-emission transport announcements in the coming years.

"We haven't seen as much progress in retail yet but if our pipeline is anything to judge, over the next couple of years you will see a lot of projects hit the market," he said.

"We're seeing a huge uptick in logistics projects, which is good because they take a while to get off the ground."

Supermarket giant Woolworths has also announced plans to replace its delivery fleet with electric vehicles by 2030, and courier firm Team Global Express partnered with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to add 60 electric trucks to its Sydney fleet.

IKEA's announcement also comes one day after the federal government's New Vehicle Efficiency Standard passed the parliament, which is designed to set emissions limits on vehicles from January next year.

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