Hydrocarbons, high-voltage, hydrogen, and hordes of excited people 

In Newsletter Editorial4 MinutesBy Dave McCoidMay 19, 2023

There was certainly a buzz in the air among those gathering in Queensland’s capital on Wednesday night of this week, the eve of the Brisbane Truck Show. Yes, there was a show in 2021. But talking to some folk who attended that event, the size was well down, the attendance was well down, and all agreed there was an unnerving air, almost an anticipation that at any moment someone might sneeze, and just like that, everyone was marooned in Brisbane.

Not so this year. Covid-19 is a memory, and our more expensive and indebted world is once again breathing free and easy, and is on the move. Organisers expect well north of 40,000 people to pass through the doors over the four days.

The Brisbane Truck Show in 2023 is the show I was expecting IAA Hannover to be last year. Hannover was a shock to the senses, with barely any internal combustion engines (ICE) in view, and even though Brisbane is still undoubtedly weighted toward the ICE, it certainly announces the transition beginning to take place, with a plethora of alternative energy solutions on offer.

Australia will be a fascinating watch over the next half century – probably the most challenging country to crack regarding a transportation energy supply crossover. It’s an advanced modern society with all the associated demands on supply chain and infrastructure, yet at the same time, home to distances and physical conditions the equal of the world’s remotest places. Australia’s ideal energy mix might end up incredibly ‘cosmopolitan’ in terms of generation methodologies. It could be a place where combusting hydrogen finds a happy home. In fact, in the general conversation, combusting hydrogen is far from a dead duck, enjoying somewhat of an interest resurgence of late. Yes, particulates are generated from combusting stuff, but it might be a more manageable transitionary technology, at least.

One theme the world over, repeated in Australia, is the lack of infrastructure and urgency on the part of the regulator(s) when it comes to and resetting the field for a new type of game. Axle weights, dimensions and road funding – they’re still subjects with too few answers this close to significant change. Obviously, Australia has the added complexity of trying to align state and federal agendas – as if they’ve ever achieved that – and the gamesmanship encompassed therein. The reality is, if we in our like single jurisdiction can’t get our act together, there’s little hope for anyone else.

It all makes for a fantastic time to be watching history unfold, and the great thing is, there’s an excitement and energy at the show and a high level of interest in everything on display. People are asking questions and inquiring. The mindset has moved away from the ‘if’, there’s no question about that.

And, if all the stuff you don’t understand gets a bit much, there’s always the Heritage Truck Association Australia event just down the road at Rocklea.

All the best

Dave McCoid
Editorial Director