‘EU needs an e-truck charging plan’

The EU must make sure there is a viable charging network for electric trucks if all the effort going into electrifying freight transport is to contribute to fighting climate change and improving the competitiveness of the European transport industry. That is the main message of a new T&E roadmap of how electric trucks could be recharged, one which develops an important part of the EU Green Deal.

Trucks are responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gases - 22% of road transport CO2 emissions despite accounting for just 2% of the vehicles on EU roads. The technology that will allow electricity to replace diesel as road transport’s principal fuel has made considerable progress, with some e-trucks now able to drive up to 300km.

In its new Roadmap for Electric Truck Charging, T&E estimates that half of the total distance driven by trucks in the EU could now be converted to e-trucks – effectively zero-emissions vehicles if the electricity used to power them comes from renewable sources. To accelerate the transition, the EU has to step in to make sure a dense network of truck charging points across Europe comes into being.

T&E’s e-mobility analyst Lucien Mathieu said: ‘The alternative fuels infrastructure law will decide how we will power the trucks of the future, and those trucks must be zero-emission. The EU needs to show truckers and truckmakers its roadmap for installing Europe’s e-truck charging network. That means providing certainty that truck re-charging will be at depots, distribution centers and public stations.’

T&E timed its ‘roadmap’ to coincide with the build-up to next year’s revision of the EU Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Directive. Agreed in 2014, its revision in 2021 needs to decide the infrastructure used to power trucks in the future.

The roadmap calls on the EU to set national targets for minimum levels of public truck charging at key locations to be met by 2025, with targets for intensifying the network to be met by 2030. It says the revised directive must ensure strict implementation of ambitious targets for charging points.

Mathieu added: ‘The current directive proposes targets for the use of gas – both LNG and CNG – as a transport fuel, but this is a fossil fuel that will not get Europe to its climate goals. The new law should end support for gas infrastructure and focus on targets for the supply of truck charge points at the main urban areas and alongside Europe’s major roads. The climate emergency requires that Europe’s key urban areas and roads be fit for zero-emissions road freight, and if we get a spread of charging points, no part of the EU will be left behind in the Green Deal.’

In addition, T&E is calling for the revised directive to guarantee hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in major EU ports to support hydrogen-powered ships, and also to potentially supply hydrogen trucks operating within ports.