Press Release

MEPs sign off on climate targets for heavy-duty vehicles

April 10, 2024

The law, agreed with governments, will provide investment certainty for truckmakers to go zero emissions.

The European Parliament today approved a law that will require almost all new trucks sold in 2040 to be zero-emission. Green group Transport & Environment (T&E) said the law – agreed in negotiations between MEPs and governments – will help European manufacturers to compete with foreign electric truckmakers and is estimated to reduce the annual CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles by 62% by 2050 (compared to 1990).

Fedor Unterlohner, freight manager at T&E, said: “European truck manufacturers now have a clear roadmap towards producing only zero-emission vehicles. EU governments already have charging targets that will enable the transition. Hauliers and the freight industry will have the supply of electric and hydrogen trucks they need to live up to their own climate responsibilities.”

Manufacturers will have to cut the average emissions of new trucks by 45% in 2030, 65% in 2035 and 90% in 2040. From 2035, the targets will also apply to vocational vehicles such as garbage and construction trucks. Trailer manufacturers will also need to improve the emissions performance of truck trailers by 10% in 2030. By 2030, 90% of new buses will need to be zero-emission, reaching 100% by 2035.

The law also requires the European Commission to look into synthetic fuels for trucks. Under the deal agreed by governments and MEPs, the Commission will assess making a proposal to register heavy-duty vehicles running only on e-fuels within the next year.

Fedor Unterlohner concluded: “The law agreed is a compromise that gives one of Europe’s biggest polluters a path to go green. Long-term investment certainty has been given to manufacturers which are facing electric competition from foreign rivals. They must not be diverted into dead-end technologies for trucks, such as biofuels and e-fuels, that cannot compete on efficiency and cost.”

T&E estimates the EU targets will result in at least 31% of new trucks and buses sold in 2030 being zero-emissions, and more than three-quarters (77%) in 2040. Looking at the overall fleet, it is projected that 30% of the heavy-duty vehicles in Europe will be zero-emission by 2040. After cars, heavy-duty vehicles are the biggest transport polluter in Europe.

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