European truck makers promise to phase out IC-engines by 2040

Mon 25 January 2021 View all news

A group of Europe's leading truck manufacturers have promised that they will stop selling vehicles driven by internal combusion engines by 2040. Chief executives of Daimler, Scania, MAN, Volvo, DAF, IVECO and Ford have signed a pledge to phase-out combustion engines and focus on hydrogen, battery technology and 'clean fuels'.

A report originating from the Financial Times says that Scania's Chief Executive claimed that the industry will invest 50 to 100 billion euros in new technologies.

The truck-makers along with the trade association ACEA, are working with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to consider the best technologies and approaches. 

Professor Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute, told the FT that freight delivery will be a difficult industry to decarbonize: “It’s the backbone of any society in the world today, but we have to recognize that they are very dependent on the internal combustion engine to transport all the goods of every industry.”

Reports suggest that the industry leaders believe that different use scenarios will require different propulsion technologies: battery-electric for inner-city delivery vans, hydrogen for long-distance haulage, and biofuels for short-term reduction of emissions.

Scania Chief Executive Henrik Henriksson said that Europe needs a higher carbon tax: “If politicians continue to subsidize fossil fuels, it will be very difficult for us, we need to change behavior of our customers, and of our customers’ customers.”

ACEA's Director-General Eric-Mark Huitema has recently warned, however, that the number of zero emission trucks on European roads will need to increase from around 2,300 at present to 200,000 by 2030 if the EU’s CO2 targets are to be met.

This would mean the level of zero emissions trucks growing 100-fold within 10 years in what would be a “radical and unprecedented” shift according to ACEA's DG.

Transport & Environment (T&E), the NGO advocating for greener transport, is critical of the EU executive’s target for zero-emission trucks.

“The strategy’s target of 80,000 zero-emission trucks by 2030 is far, far behind where the market is heading and not in line with the objective of climate neutrality by 2050,” said Tiziana Frongia, freight director at T&E.

“Zero-emission trucks models are coming to market and their supply should be stepped up quickly to ensure at least one in every three trucks sold in 2030 is emissions free.”

A recent study by ACEA says that there are currently 6.2 million medium and heavy commercial vehicles on the EU’s roads, almost all of which are powered by diesel. Only 0.04% of these trucks are currently considered zero-emission.

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