Shell-Deloitte report says road freight sector is closer to decarbonisation 'tipping point' than many expect

Thu 21 January 2021 View all news

A new report from Shell and Deloitte based on interviews with over 150 road freight sector executives and experts across 22 countries finds that while the sector is facing several barriers to decarbonisation it is close to an inflection point due to increasing regulatory and market pressure, and that it will evolve faster than many expect. 

The report - 'Decarbonising Road Freight: Getting into Gear' - offers a detailed 10-year roadmap with 22 solutions aimed at addressing the economic, technical, regulatory and organisational factors influencing the sector’s ability to decarbonise.

The report finds that more than 70% of study participants view hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles as the most viable long term zero emission heavy duty truck technologies, and many believe these trucks will become commercially viable in the next 5 to 10 years.

The key highlights from the industry perspectives report include:

  • To meet the goal of the Paris agreement, absolute emissions from global road freight need to decline almost 60% by 2050 versus a 2018 baseline, despite an expected doubling of road freight volume over the same period.
  • 80% of study participants perceive a lack of regulatory incentives and the complexity of infrastructure replacement to be major barriers to decarbonisation, while 70% see limited demand from customers as a major barrier.
  • Although not yet commercially viable, most study participants agree that the technologies to decarbonise road freight exist, and truck manufacturers are already developing hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles.
  • Companies should begin prioritising the replacement of trucks and buses in viable short-range and urban duty cycles using available zero emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles.
  • Through coalitions and partnerships, industry players should increase the deployment of zero-emission trucks and fuels in regional clusters and along high-traffic corridors.
  • Low emission fuels such as liquified natural gas (LNG), bioLNG, compressed natural gas and biodiesel should be commercialised quickly around existing points of supply, but not where they could disrupt the deployment of zero emission solutions.
  • Immediate emission reductions can be achieved for fleets with diesel powered trucks by improving truck design, employing digital solutions to optimise fleet management and using higher quality fuels and lubricants.

Carlos Maurer, Executive Vice President of Sectors and Decarbonisation at Shell said: “The next 10 years will be critically important for the road freight sector to introduce zero emission vehicles into the global fleet, and it is very encouraging that road freight leaders have already begun to align on a technology pathway.

“We believe that once produced at scale, hydrogen will likely be the more cost-effective and viable pathway to net zero emissions for heavy duty and long-route medium duty vehicles, and electric mobility will do the same for light duty and short-route medium duty vehicles. Shell has already begun taking steps to make these energy solutions available to customers and we are partnering with others to expand these efforts.”

Related News: The international NGO, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) says that the monitoring of on-board fuel consumption metering (OBFCM) data is needed to prevent a growing gap between the certified and real-world CO2 emissions from trucks. This can only be achieved, ICCT says, if regulation mandates a certain accuracy for the OBFCM methods in real-world operation. The first step in achieving this is to determine a reference method against which the on-road accuracy of the OBFCM methods will be validated. For more details on how the ICCT recommends that this gap can be closed see this link

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