Electric cars might be a common sight on our roads these days, yet you don’t often spot an electrically powered van or truck.

That’s about to change with Chinese manufacturer Foton. Foton imported its first 40 light-duty electric trucks late last year and its Sydney-based operation, Foton Mobility Distribution, has announced it will be offering sales, service, spare parts and support for its zero-emissions New Energy range, which includes iBlue EV trucks and electric vans. The dealerships earmarked to support Foton’s EV range include ABC Sales & Maintenance in Cairns, Sustainable Vehicle Solutions, a CMV Group company, in Melbourne, and G & A Lombardi in Perth.

Lombardi’s dealer principal Paul McGovern describes the Foton EV as one of the most exciting vehicles he has been involved with.

“It drives sensationally well and better than any small truck I have driven,” McGovern says.

Peter Woodward, managing director of ABC Sales and Maintenance, also expresses his enthusiasm at the arrival of the iBlue.

“New-energy vehicles are the way of the future, and we are excited to be able to offer alternative transport solutions to our clients,” Woodward says.

With a further 50 iBlue trucks arriving in the country this month and more to arrive later this year, Foton Mobility Distribution has appointed roadside-assistance company Truck Assist to provide 24-hour roadside assistance anywhere in Australia.

CMV Group managing director Paul Crawford told a trucking magazine that Foton’s electric trucks are a welcome addition to the company’s new business unit of sustainable vehicle solutions.

“CMV Group is firmly focused on supporting the transport industry in the transition to more renewable-energy sources, and our investment into a sustainable vehicle solutions hub, and the Foton brand itself, is just another step in that process,” Crawford said.

The 2.5-tonne iBlue truck comes in either 4.5-tonne or 6-tonne gross vehicle mass (GVM) format, with the former able to be driven without a truck licence.

The iBlue features a top speed of 95km/h and is powered by either an 81kWh or optional 100kWh battery pack, which can be charged in just 1.5 hours via fast-charging, or in 12 to 14 hours via slower charging.

CarBon Rental & Leasing, Australia’s first purely EV leasing, subscription and rental company, has partnered with All Purpose Transport (APT), one of Queensland’s largest privately owned transport and logistics organisations, to offer four iBlue trucks to customers, with more on the way.

Paul Kahlert, CEO of APT, says the trucks signal the beginning of a broader strategy to encourage APT’s contractors to move to lower-emission vehicles.

“We’re taking the lead in the last-mile delivery sector and CarBon has helped guide us through the transition and implementation process,” Kahlert says.

CarBon’s CEO, Scott Gillespie, says the transport industry is already moving quickly to reduce its carbon emissions.

“These vehicles have the power and capacity to reliably compete with a diesel equivalent, so they’re going to have an immediate positive impact,” Gillespie says.

“If Australia is going to reach its 2030 emissions targets, EV transition initiatives will be crucial to achieving those goals.”