In a factsheet, T&E examines the progress to reaching zero emissions in the freight sector and shows how EU truck CO2 standards can make or break the transition.

There is increasing consensus among European truck manufacturers and industry stakeholders that battery electric trucks will play a dominant role in the decarbonisation of the road freight sector, including for long-haul. With trucks being heavily used capital goods, the advantage of battery electric vehicles in terms of lower fuel and maintenance costs grows with increasing mileage, making them particularly competitive for long-haul transport.

Ambitious CO2 standards in the upcoming revision can create the necessary market certainty to enable truckmakers to scale up their production of zero-emission trucks and for logistics companies to transition their fleets to zero emission. To find out more, download the factsheet.

The review of the EU’s truck CO2 standards

To achieve the EU’s climate targets, heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) need to be decarbonised and the sale of most conventional trucks and buses ended by 2035. The review of the HDV CO2 standards is the once in a decade opportunity to put HDVs on a Green Deal-compliant trajectory.

Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) are the only available technology which can reduce emissions quickly, decarbonise the HDV sector in the long-term and tackle harmful air pollution.

The current CO2 reduction targets are too weak to ramp up the supply of ZEVs on time. The current 2030 target of 30% should be brought forward to 2027 as an intermediate target. The 2030 target needs to be increased to around 65% in line with announcements made by truck OEMs.

A 100% CO2 reduction target in 2035 for all HDVs except for vocational vehicles is necessary in order to fully replace the legacy fleet by 2050 given that on average most trucks last more than 15 years on the road. Such a target in 2035 is feasible from a technological and cost perspective, including for long-haul trucks.

The regulation needs to be extended to all vehicles including small and medium lorries, vocational trucks, urban buses and coaches as well as trailers.

Credits for renewable and low-carbon fuels should not be included in HDV CO2 standards as it would not help solve the emissions problem of HDVs.