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Shifting freight to rail and waterways, as well as reducing the fuel consumption of trucks and the number of empty vehicles, would save France up to 18% of road freight greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (compared to 2018). Up to 30% of new trucks in France will need to be zero emission by 2030 to fully decarbonise the road freight sector within the next 30 years.
Electric trucks must be given priority over trucks using electrofuels because they’re cheaper to own and operate due to the efficiency benefits of direct electrification.
Pauline Fournols, Clean Freight Policy Officer at T&E, said: “Whether you like it or not trucks are not going to disappear anytime soon. They must be part of the decarbonisation plan and do their fair share of the work to tackle the climate emergency. The most energy efficient and cost effective way to do so is by directly electrifying trucks with renewable electricity. This technology is already available, we must use it.”
To achieve this switch, electric trucks must become more appealing to hauliers than diesel ones. In France the government will need to implement three measures:
Reduce taxes on electricity used for electric trucks, as is already the case for trains, metros, trams and electric buses.
Set up a purchase incentive for hauliers to buy zero-emission trucks, as is already the case in Germany and California.
Phase out the diesel fuel rebate and use part of the generated revenue to lower taxes on labour and set up an investment fund for the purchase incentive. The impact of such a phase-out on hauliers will be limited as it will only slightly increase the cost of the end product which can be passed onto consumers without any notable price hike.
These measures must be implemented as soon as possible as part of a national strategy to decarbonise freight, so that battery electric trucks can be cheaper to buy and operate by 2024.
Pauline Fournols added: “Contrary to other countries like Germany, France is lagging behind when it comes to developing a zero emission trucks strategy. Only by starting now to seriously invest in electric trucks and phase out fossil trucks can France meet its zero emission target by 2050. The clock is ticking. There is no more time to waste.”
In 2019 there were around 550,000 trucks on French roads, causing 16% of the greenhouse gases emitted by the transport sector in France.