Tradies like project builder and carpenter Sean Hardwick are born pragmatists.
"Show me an electric or hybrid ute which will tow my three-tonne tool trailer, carry all my gear, give me the driving range I need every day and I'm happy to take a good look at it," he said.
"But where are they?"
Farrier Tom Smith finally swapped out his hard-working Ford Ranger ute in November last year for an new Isuzu D-Max twin-cab, which regularly tows his trailer carrying a forge, a heavy anvil, dozens of horse shoes and smithing tools, often for several hundred kilometres a day.
"I would definitely have considered an electric ute if it was up to the job," he said. "I think we should all do more because climate change is here and happening. But there's just nothing electric, vehicle wise, that can do what needs to be done from a work perspective. At least, not yet."
Out there, among the tradies, the farmers, the miners and all the others who buy Australia's hugely popular, Thai-built twin-cab utes, is where the rubber quite literally hits the road.
This sets up a looming conflict between well-intentioned government policy and market requirement.
It's that compelling case that the federal government needs to address - carefully, because there's a massive and very loyal ute following out there, particularly in regional areas - as it prepares the way for the introduction of its new fuel efficiency standard in January next year.
Forced, policy-driven behavioural change is always fraught with danger and there's no mistaking it: the biggest selling vehicles of 2023, the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux twin-cabs, are squarely in the gun under the new emissions restrictions legislation.
The Ranger 4WD diesel produces 195gms per km of CO2 on the official "combined" test cycle while the Hilux diesel 188. Both are below the combined average fleet (passenger car and light commercial vehicle) target but should the government adopt its "preferred" option, within two years, they won't be.
Then there's even heavier emitters, the ever-popular grey nomad tow cars like the 5.6-litre petrol V8 Nissan Patrol and latest Toyota LandCruiser 300-Series turbo-diesel, both of which are among the heaviest and biggest-emitting new vehicles on our roads.
One of the key issues is that heavier, larger-engined SUVs and 4WDs are hugely popular in regional areas because of the longer average travel distances. They will be hit harder under the metrics of the proposed new legislation.
Industry insiders say alternative low and zero-emission utes are under development, but it's a very slow process. Federal transport minister Catherine King told of her positive experience in the all-electric, full sized (one size up from the top-selling Ranger) Ford 150 Lightning ute in the US last year.
What she didn't add was that projected price of that product when it arrives here was around $120,000 plus, or around a third more than Mr Hardwick paid for his spiffy, performance-engineered twin-cab turbo-diesel VW Amarok ute.
These new generation battery-electric utes - whenever they make it to Australian shores - carry the added bonus of becoming an on-site power recharger for the plethora of battery-powered tradie tools.
"I can see how that type of charging set-up from a vehicle would be a real advantage when you are parked up on a work site; that works me," Mr Hardwick said
Of the record 1.2 million new vehicles sold last year, SUVs and light commercials accounted for 78.4 per cent, or more than 958,000 units.
Both of Australia's 2023 top-sellers - the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux, which is due to be replaced in a few months - are new "platforms", at the very start of a projected 10-year-long model cycle.
If both - as expected - are slammed with penalties for their emissions and logically, those costs are passed on to the consumer - the car companies may absorb some of the financial "hit" to protect their market share, but not all - there will be hundreds of thousands of unhappy people outraged at what will be seen as an interventionist federal policy. It doesn't take a crystal ball to see how this could play out.
Under the complex settings for the new scheme - with vehicle weight as one of those critical components - the federal government has proposed a fleet average emissions target; a so-called "headline" target which reduces over time.
Those companies that "beat" the target receive a credit for every "clean" car sold which they can use to offset the sale of vehicles with higher emissions.
But weaning Australians off their twin cab utes will be the toughest sell of all.