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Only zero-emission trucks by 2040

The truck industry criticises the EU's targets as too lax. They themselves want to put 200,000 zero-emission trucks on the roads by 2030 and are calling for tougher rules for diesel trucks. The targets are ambitious, but possible with the help of the EU, which is letting the industry down.

The big truck manufacturers Scania, MAN and Co. have set ambitious targets. By 2040, only emission-free trucks are to be brought onto the market. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), this is the only way to achieve the EU's climate goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050. According to Eric-Mark Huitema, Director General of ACEA, this change would be "radical and unprecedented".

The European Commission for Sustainable and Intelligent Mobility had previously only envisaged around 80,000 vehicles within the decade. This would also not be enough according to the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E). The goal must be that every third newly registered truck is emission-free by 2030. Currently, only 0.04 per cent of the 6.2 million trucks on the road are emission-free.

Above all, a charging and refuelling infrastructure suitable for trucks must be promoted by the EU throughout Europe. In addition, road tolls would have to be adjusted to the CO2 emissions of vehicles and the taxation of fuels would have to be re-evaluated according to carbon and energy content. This would make diesel vehicles much less profitable and spur the development of alternative fuels.

After all, the EU has a goal of installing one million public charging stations and 1,000 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2025. Indeed, the industry sees hydrogen as the fuel of the future, especially for long-distance transport. Battery-powered trucks would probably only be suitable for ranges of up to 450 km in the future.

So the development in the truck industry is quite unusual: the industry is asking for stricter rules for its own manufactured vehicles, is more ambitious than the EU itself. At the same time, European countries are having to make the rules for low emission zones ever stricter in order to comply with the prescribed air limits.

So the EU should definitely re-evaluate its own set targets, and give more support to truck makers if it wants to reach its 2050 climate target.