National support for heavy-duty electric vehicles in Europe

A rapid rollout of zero-emission trucks (ZET) is a much-needed and efficient solution to combat the high emission levels from road freight and clean-up vehicles on European highways. It is essential to fully decarbonize the EU truck fleet if we want to meet our 2050 climate neutrality goal. First-mover hauliers have a strong demand for them, and by 2030, 44% of new truck sales will be zero emissions if European truck manufacturers keep to their stated promises. Even then, some manufacturers want to sell 60% ZET.

Total cost of ownership (TCO) parity with diesel trucks is soon to be achieved by battery electric trucks (BETs) due to rising manufacturing volumes and low operating costs. Depending on the nation and the relevant governmental incentives, recent analyses by environmental organisations, research groups, and truck manufacturers estimate long-haul BETs will achieve TCO parity before or by the middle of 2020. However, for the vast majority of small and medium-sized hauliers in Europe, hefty upfront vehicle costs might still be a barrier in the beginning.

Public financial incentives have shown to be a successful accelerator and short-term cure for the initially higher vehicle costs of electric automobiles while manufacturing volumes are expanding and eventually driving prices down. They might be the deciding factor in the drive toward zero-emission road freight, a sector motivated by techno-economic factors. This briefing maps the support options in Europe (see map below) and makes recommendations on how national governments and the EU may enhance their assistance programmes.

Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain are among the 16 countries that offer national purchase incentives that effectively close the investment gap between a diesel truck and a ZET by covering up to 80% of the cost difference. The per-vehicle compensation for financial assistance in Denmark, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom is positive, but it is still not high enough to enable hauliers (particularly smaller ones) to overcome the price barrier. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia do not currently have a ZET programme in place, nor do they have any plans to do so.

In nine nations, including three that are in the development stages, funds are available for the required heavy-duty charging and refuelling infrastructure. The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and the AFIF, which is the EU’s budget for increasing sustainable road infrastructure, provide financial incentives to hasten the installation of comparable zero-emission infrastructure throughout Europe.

Source: Transport & Environment

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National support for heavy-duty electric vehicles in Europe | Transport & Environment


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