With the current average electricity grid in the EU, an electrified truck, either through battery or e-highways, would cut greenhouse gas emissions by a factor of 3 compared to a diesel truck.
Transport is the biggest sector in the ESD with a share of 34%, with heavy-duty vehicles being responsible for around 1/4 of transport emissions. Between 1990-2015, greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks and buses rose 19% and this increase is projected to continue. Lorry emissions have been on the rise for decades and while more goods are transported by road, lorry fuel economy has been stagnant since the mid-1990s. EU Member States have a limited ability to reduce lorry emissions. Standards are a proven tool to overcome market barriers and improve fuel efficiency in a cost-effective manner.
Diesel represents up to 1/3 of the lorry operating costs and diesel imports for road freight cost the EU €60 billion a year. According to studies for the European Commission, lorries could be at least 35% more fuel-efficient using existing technology without increasing operating costs for haulers. CO2 standards would ensure fuel-saving technologies are fitted as standard rather than as expensive options. The increased up-front cost would be quickly recovered through lower fuel bills and free up some €18 billion for new investments which would benefit the EU economy and create over 30,000 new jobs in the lorry manufacturing industry.
20 years of stagnating fuel efficiency and the introduction of fuel economy standards in other truck producing regions like Japan (2005), the US (2011) and China (2015) have eroded Europe’s leadership on truck fuel efficiency. The US announced updated truck fuel efficiency standards that will improve the fuel efficiency of trucks from around 36l/100km in 2014 to below 27l/100km in 2027. This will make US trucks the most technologically-advanced and fuel-efficient in the world. As a result, America will lay claim to the word’s most comprehensive regulatory framework, undermining Europe’s current leadership in this area.