Massive investment in EV infrastructure needed to spur European transition to clean truck fleet

Photo: E-Trucks Europe

Europe needs to urgently invest in at least 20,000 high-power electric charge points for heavy-duty vehicles so that the region’s truck fleet can meet 2025 climate goals, according to a recent post published by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF). If they fail to meet CO2 reduction targets, manufacturers will be at risk of paying high penalties.

Ambitions. Today, purely electric vehicles only account for 0.2% of total new European Union truck sales, but in 2030, some 200,000 battery-electric heavy-duty vehicles are supposed to be operating in Europe. Without adequate electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure along highways and in logistic centres, rapid fleet shift from diesel to electric power can’t happen, according to the WEF report.

Why it’s important. In Europe, trucks may account for only 2% of vehicles on the road but they are responsible for 22% of CO2 emissions from land-based transport. With 97.9% of new trucks registered in the EU still running on diesel, the growing demand for transportation services means that under the current pattern carbon emissions will continue to increase.

What strategic role can the EU’s Green Recovery Plan play? Financial aid should be targeted to support the trucking sector in the transition away from diesel and gas by:

  • Investing in electric charging infrastructure along European highways;

  • Helping truckmakers scale up manufacturing of zero-emission trucks;

  • Ensuring that no financial support can be granted to fossil fueled vehicles and infrastructure;

  • Subsidizing road transport companies to scrap older fossil fuel engined trucks and replace them with battery electric or hydrogen vehicles.

As Stef Cornelis from the non-profit organization Transport and Environment concludes :

The climate emergency requires that Europe’s key urban areas and roads be fit for zero-emissions road freight. (…) Scrappage schemes should support the clean trucks of the future, not the fuels of the past.