Juncker under unprecedented pressure to deliver strong truck CO2 targets

European Commissioners are coming under unprecedented pressure to set ambitious truck CO2 emissions standards after a rare alliance of global brands, transport companies and hauliers associations last month demanded that CO2 cuts of 24% by 2025 be targeted. In a letter to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Carrefour, IKEA, Unilever, Heineken, Nestlé, logistics giant Geodis, national transport associations and other big players said the target was necessary if the EU was to remain the leader in the fight against climate change.

By setting a target of reducing truck emissions by almost a quarter, the Commission – which is set to make a proposal on 16 May – would help the trucking sector meet its climate goals and save businesses €7,700 per year, per truck, they wrote. At 27% of total EU emissions, transport is Europe’s biggest climate problem and heavy-duty vehicles account for 26% of road transport CO2.

The sector-wide alliance also called for an ambitious mandatory sales target for zero emission trucks. They said that while the technology for zero emission trucks is there, supply is limited and only available at high costs. Therefore the upcoming proposal should also ensure truck manufacturers sell a minimum share of zero emission trucks.

T&E’s cleaner trucks officer, Stef Cornelis, said: ‘An unprecedented coalition of global brands, SMEs and truckers is telling the EU they want stringent CO2 standards and strong, mandatory sales targets for zero emissions lorries. President Juncker should seize this opportunity to start decarbonising trucks.’

The long-awaited overhaul of vehicle safety regulations are also expected to be announced by the Commission this month. Road safety campaigners, governments and major cities have called for mandated ‘direct vision’ standard for trucks to be included. These would govern the amount of the road that truck drivers must be able to see, and would enhance new truck designs to make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Research shows that trucks with low-entry cabs, which some European manufacturers already make, but are not required to by law, have excellent direct vision and help prevent road fatalities.

The EU has the exclusive competence to mandate safety improvements for new cars, vans and trucks. The last new safety requirements date back to 2009 and the Commission has continued to postpone updating the rules for vehicles. Meanwhile, 25,500 Europeans died in traffic accidents in 2016 – around 500 deaths per week.

The legislative package due on 16 May will also advance the Commission’s battery initiative, giving more detail on its ‘Airbus for batteries’ vision.