EU Must Clear Infrastructure Bottleneck Stifling Transition to Greener Road Haulage
EUROPE – The European Clean Trucking Alliance (ECTA), a coalition of key players in the continent’s road freight industry, is urging the European Union (EU) to accelerate the transition to clean trucks by scaling up the availability of infrastructure and strengthening the CO2 standards to enable emission-free road transport. The landscape of road transport decarbonisation is changing, truck makers are coming out with pledges and sales targets and many transport actors such as members of the Alliance are ramping up their efforts to green their fleets. Zero emission trucks and vans are arriving on the market but the infrastructure to operate these vehicles is largely missing.
As this is creating a bottleneck that hampers the transition to a greener freight mobility, the deployment of adequate and reliable charging infrastructure should start now. In its position paper, the ECTA calls on the European Commission to grab the opportunity of the upcoming proposals under the ‘Fit-for-55 Package‘ and come up with an ambitious policy framework to make zero emission freight a reality. The Fit for 55 Package looks to shape several decisive regulations for the future of road transport: the expected review of Europe’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID), the TEN-T and TEN-E regulations, the Energy Taxation Directive and CO2 emission performance standards for light commercial vehicles.
There are approximately 40 million vehicles delivering across Europe, with trucks carrying more than three quarters of all freight transported across the continent. The upcoming revision of the TEN-T Regulation should be the opportunity to identify road freight urban nodes as hotspots of freight activity in Europe. Kristin Kahl, a spokesperson for the ECTA said:
“The availability of infrastructure for zero-emission trucks and vans is one of the biggest challenges to decarbonising our fleets, only ambitious regulations with AFID and policy support can turn this into the greatest opportunity of the decade. “Developing a network of safe and secure truck parking areas goes hand in hand with the reinforcement of the electricity grid to provide high power to the charging infrastructure as well as green hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.” To ensure seamless cross-border operations and regional delivery operations, the Alliance calls on the Commission to establish binding targets in the AFID legislation for infrastructure in all EU member states.
A minimum of 2 public charging stations per freight urban node by 2025, to be increased to a minimum of 10 charging stations by 2030, are needed to make the transition to zero-emission trucks a reality in every member state. The TEN-T core network corridors should become zero-emission freight corridors, with sufficient charging and green hydrogen refuelling infrastructure deployed at the latest by 2027 and completed by 2030 to enable zero-emission long haul trips. In Europe, transport is the biggest source of emissions at around 28% and is the sector with the highest emissions increase since 1990.
Despite this alarming situation, the current CO2 emission performance standards for vans are not driving the market towards zero-emission: only 1.4% of new vans registered in the EU in 2019 was electric and according to preliminary data only 2% in 2020. To stay on course for zero emissions by 2050, the upcoming CO2 performance standards revision is the opportunity to strengthen the standards in order to boost supply of zero-emission vehicles. The Alliance recommends having at least 50% of new vans sold in 2030 zero-emission and by 2035 all new vans sold to be zero-emission.
The Alliance says that this is a golden opportunity to make almost CO2 -free city logistics in major urban centres by 2030, with a proper policy framework to ensure a steady and increasing supply of zero-emission vans with sufficient infrastructure.
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