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Emissions still rising: is the future of heavy-duty vehicles electric?

On 16 October 2023, the EU Council reached an agreement on a proposal to update and strengthen the regulation of CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs).

HDVs, such as trucks, city buses and long-distance buses, are responsible for more than 25 per cent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from road transport in the EU and account for over 6 per cent of total EU GHG emissions. Despite some improvements in fuel consumption efficiency in recent years, these emissions are still rising, mainly due to increasing road freight traffic.

Thus, the new proposal aims to further reduce CO2 emissions in the road transport sector and to introduce new targets: a 45 per cent emissions reduction from 2030 (increased from 30 per cent); a 65 per cent emissions reduction from 2035; and a 90 per cent emissions reduction from 2040.

“Lorries, buses and coaches are an important part of road transportation, affecting the daily lives of millions of citizens,” said Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Spanish acting third vice-president of the government and minister for the ecological transition and the demographic challenge. “Citizens deserve to live in a greener and healthier environment and we are now a step closer towards this objective.”

Charging infrastructure: without it, there is no future for truck electrification

While electric passenger cars are becoming the norm in many Member States, for truck electrification many countries are lagging behind, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
According to a recent study by pan-European integrated payments and mobility platform Eurowag, the main challenge seems to be related to the lack of charging infrastructure, which has to be suitable in terms of size, accessibility, power of the charging station and location, all factors that differ from the EVs charging points.

The report showed that in terms of readiness of the European infrastructure for battery-powered trucks, Northern and Western European countries rank at the top, led by Norway, Netherlands and Switzerland. When it comes to CEE, Slovakia ranked 20th, followed by. the Czech Republic (21st) and Poland (22nd), which were described as moderately prepared for the operation of electric cars. At the tail end of the ranking are other Eastern European countries, like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and North Macedonia.

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To read the entire article, download our e-book “Electromobility in CEE: can the Region Maintain Its Competitive Edge?” for free!

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