E-truck transition requires hefty policy support

Europe’s heavy transport sector is heading towards a cleaner future, propelled there by increasingly stringent government regulations. Considerable attention has been focused on the new Euro 7 standards, poised to take effect from January 2025. Euro 7 introduces tighter air pollution regulations for both passenger cars and heavy vehicles, but it only represents part of the decarbonisation picture. Europe also wants to see new trucks slash average CO2 emissions by at least 45% by 2030, 65% by 2035 and 90% by 2040, compared to a mid-2019 to mid-2020 baseline.

The CO2 reduction plan, backed by the European Commission and EU Parliament, should be finalised in early 2024. While it’s not yet clear where biofuels and e-fuels will fit into this, it is expected to result in a virtual phasing out of diesel trucks and propel the industry increasingly towards battery electric and hydrogen propulsion.

Manufacturers have been pouring billions of euros into zero-emission trucks, and several models are available on the market today. But players across the entire value chain are warning that the segment lacks pivotal support measures to ensure its long-term success. “The vision to decarbonise is there, but we need support, and we need options,” noted Raluca Marian, Director of EU Advocacy at the International Road Transport Union (IRU).

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