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Transport europe think tankThe UK is risking falling behind on decarbonisation of trucks while the EU storms ahead, green transport thinktank, Transport & Environment, have warned.

Despite the government announcing new £200 million of funding for demonstrator projects for trucks decarbonisation the UK and putting out a call for evidence with regards to battery electric truck charging infrastructure just last week, this pales in significance in comparison to the action the EU is taking to decarbonise their fleets. The UK, it appears, has plenty of ambition but is lacking in action.

The EU has an EU-wide charging law, called the “Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation or AFIR, in place which is ensuring recharging stations for heavy-duty vehicles with a minimum output of 350kW, will be deployed every 60 km along their core network, and every 100 km on their larger, more comprehensive network from 2025 onwards, with complete network coverage expected by 2030. The EU is also implementing 5 year stepwise CO2 standards that will ensure that truck makers ramp up the production of new zero emission trucks of the future.

In 2021, emissions from heavy goods vehicles in the UK amounted to 21.4 MtCO2e while in 1990 that figure stood at 21.7 MtCO2e so there has barely been any decrease in emissions. With HGV emissions clearly proven quite stubborn, the UK government needs to take action to encourage a switch to e-HGVs and putting infrastructure in place to ensure those trucks can move across the country.

In September the government announced the zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate that outlined the requirements for manufacturers to sell specific amounts of electric vehicles to ensure that by 2035 all new cars and vans will be zero emission. By 2035 all new trucks under 26T need to be zero emission. To support this goal, Transport & Environment says that it is essential that a zero emission heavy goods vehicle mandate is implemented in order to adequately encourage a shift to zero emissions HGVs, and that this mandate should include intermediate 5y steps.

Richard Hebditch, UK Director of Transport & Environment, said: “The UK is in real danger of losing any competitive edge it has on truck decarbonisation. It’s vital that the UK stays in the race as there is a flourishing industry behind e-HGV production, charging and battery supply that the UK could tap into. The government seems to be tiptoeing around major issues when it comes to transport decarbonisation and HGVs are a major opportunity, it would be silly and short-sighted to continue to pay them such little attention.

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