20 February 2023


CLECAT released a press statement last week welcoming the Commission proposal (+ annexes) revising the Regulation on CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), which was presented on 14 February. The Regulation is one of the most important tools to drive the decarbonisation of road freight transport and is timely to bring the emissions of road freight transport in line with the Paris Agreement and Europe’s climate ambition.

CLECAT Director General, Nicolette van der Jagt said: “The Commission proposes to strengthen the 2030 target from 30% to 45% emission reduction and keep increasing the targets every 5 years until reaching 90% emission reduction for all new HDVs by 2040. These strengthened are essential to accelerate the transition towards zero-emission trucking. More zero-emission trucks on the market will help bringing the costs per unit down, giving more incentives to transport operators to switch to this type of vehicle.

She added: “CLECAT supports the transition to zero-emission truck engines. Battery-electric and hydrogen-electric trucks are the primary solution for decarbonising road freight and we note that manufacturers are increasingly offering these models. But both solutions must be available in sufficient quantities. It is also important that there are also enough places all over Europe to recharge electricity or refuel with hydrogen. This represents a major challenge for the coming years. Inadequate availability of sufficient charging and refuelling infrastructure is the biggest concern that could hold business back from realising a fully zero-emission future. It is therefore essential that Member States increase the ambition of the AFIR with regards to HDV infrastructure targets, and that national governments offer financial support to transport operators to reduce the purchase gap between diesel and zero-emission trucks. Strong sustainability criteria should also be set in the Renewable Energy Directive to ensure that renewable and low-carbon fuels, which will be used as bridging technologies in the legacy fleet, will help reduce emissions from the road freight sector in the short to medium term.

CLECAT welcomes the extension of the scope of the Regulation to medium lorries (between 7.5 and 16 tonnes) but questions the inclusion of heaviest trucks: this category of trucks (vehicle group 11 and above) are built to carry very heavy payloads for very specific use-cases. As such, these vehicles consume less fuel and produce less emissions per unit of cargo transported, while reducing the number of trucks on EU roads. Setting the same standards on these trucks would only bring a marginal benefit as the electrification potential of these trucks is not sufficiently mature to decarbonise this type of vehicle with electric batteries or green hydrogen.

CLECAT will examine the proposals in more detail in view of the new provisions brought by the proposal, including the inclusion of trailers in the scope of the Regulation.

Source: European Commission