Truck CO2: Europe’s chance to lead

To control the climate emissions from trucks and buses, which are responsible for 28% of the climate emissions from road transport in Europe, the European Commission is proposing to revise CO2 emission requirements for new heavy-duty vehicles. Zero-emission vehicles, such as battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, are the only technology that can completely decarbonize the heavy-duty industry over the long run and help us reach climate neutrality by 2050

Reported by Transport & Environment

At first glance, a CO2 goal of -90 percent could appear to be sufficient for complete decarbonization. Yet because of a variety of flaws, the approach will only cut HDV emissions by 56% until 2050. (against 1990 levels). This undermines both the EU’s climate goals and Europe’s attempt to maintain its industrial leadership in the field. Notwithstanding the fact that the Commission’s proposal differs from the present law in a number of important ways, it nevertheless falls short in four crucial areas.

1. It doesn’t have a 100% zero-emission goal.

The Commission’s plan halts at a 2040 CO2 reduction objective of -90% rather than advancing a 100% zero-emission aim. According to T&E study, the proposed reduction in HDV emissions in 2050 would only be 56%. Conversely, establishing a 100% zero-emission objective in 2035 for commercial trucks, buses, and coaches, as well as in 2040 for non-certified and vocational vehicles, would result in a 94% reduction in the sector’s GHG emissions by 2050.

2. Its 2030 goal is inadequate and falls short of industry projections.

The Commission’s proposal raises the worldwide CO2 target for trucks, buses, and coaches from the present -30% to -45% in 2030, although this is still much below what is required to quickly boost the supply of clean trucks and buses. An expanded worldwide CO2 target of -65% in 2030, according to T&E research, would only lead to 8% more zero-emission vehicles on European roads than what truck manufacturers have already officially committed to build through 2030.

3. 20% of HDV sales remain uncontrolled.

Small trucks, so-called “vocational” and “non-certified” vehicles, as well as small trucks in general, are still excluded from the plan. This implies that none of the climatic emissions from vehicles that go through our cities on a daily basis, such as delivery, garbage, and construction trucks, are controlled. Combined, these exempted cars account for 12% of fleet emissions and over 20% of HDV sales.

4. It designates trucks using diesel in part as zero-emission vehicles.

Contrary to the CO2 criteria for cars and vans, internal combustion trucks that only use hydrogen are now included in the definition of a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) under the HDV CO2 regulations. Nevertheless, the Commission’s proposal modifies this definition to include hydrogen dual-fuel engines that operate partially on diesel as zero-emission vehicles.

Download Report
Reported by Transport & Environment

Related Partner Reports

September 18th update

Why affordable electric cars in 2025 are feasible

This report assesses the possibility of making €25,000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accessible in Europe by 2025. It analyzes factors affecting car prices, automaker strategies, and market dynamics. The report explores automaker profits, the rise of SUVs, and the discontinuation of smaller car models. It also examines the economic viability of small BEVs and their potential to boost electric...
Reported by Transport & Environment
August 14th update

Leasing is lagging: An analysis of BEV uptake in France

This report investigates France’s car leasing sector, emphasizing major players, profitability, and impact on decarbonization and electromobility. It highlights record profits, mergers, and the industry's role in promoting sustainable transportation.
Reported by Transport & Environment
August 7th update

Battery metals demand from electrifying passenger transport

The report examines the demand for battery raw materials to electrify European passenger transport under different scenarios. It highlights the significance of smaller batteries, innovative technologies, and policy measures to reduce demand responsibly and sustainably.
Reported by
July 10th update

Addendum: Addressing the heavy-duty climate problem

This report assesses the European Commission's proposal on CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) and compares it to more ambitious targets suggested by T&E. It analyzes the proposal's impact on emissions, energy consumption, and the EU's carbon budget, highlighting its shortcomings. The report recommends stronger CO2 targets for HDVs based on industry commitments for zero-emission sales by 2030.
Reported by Transport & Environment
June 28th update

Critical Raw Materials Act position paper

This report analyzes the European Union's CRM Act proposal for securing critical metals in the renewable energy transition. It discusses China's dominance in metal refining and the impact of the US Inflation Reduction Act. The report emphasizes the need for a balanced approach, stronger requirements for strategic projects and environmental reporting, and alignment with European values and community involvement....
Reported by Transport & Environment
June 26th update

State of the Industry Report 2023

This report provides an in-depth analysis of Plug&Charge, an industry-wide innovation revolutionizing EV charging. It covers the development, implementation, and adoption of Plug&Charge technology, along with key trends and business perspectives within the eMobility industry. The report aims to help readers gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry developments and make strategic decisions on implementing this future technology.
Reported by Hubject

Get started Free of Charge

EV Reports Database