By 2035, all electric freight trucks will be more convenient than diesel trucks. This is maybe the most remarkable result of a study (here’s the link) commissioned by Transport & Environment (T&E) in collaboration with Agora Verkehrswende. According to such study, “99.8% of new electric freight trucks will be cheaper to own and run than diesel trucks, while carrying the same weight of goods over the same distance and journey time. In most cases, electric trucks will beat diesel trucks on the total cost of ownership even sooner. The tiny gap to 100% can be easily bridged by a handful of trucks making an extra stop, beyond what is legally required, to charge. Even with that additional stop, they would still be cheaper to buy and run”.

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Electric trucks: stricter targets are needed

But an increased EU CO2 target for truckmakers of -65% in 2030 is also needed if zero emissions freight trucks are to reach almost 100% of sales five years later, T&E said. Sticking with the current EU climate targets for truckmakers would result in 1.3 million fewer zero-emission trucks on the road in 2035. T&E said stronger EU standards from the 2020s onwards would force manufacturers to deliver on their voluntary commitments to electrify. Already today, most zero-emissions trucks in the urban delivery segment beat diesel on cost and capabilities, but weak targets for truckmakers result in them not being supplied to hauliers.

The range will not be an issue anymore

Moreover, the study finds that almost all freight trucks in Europe travel less than 800km a day – which is within the range of the newest battery electric trucks when charged during the legally required driver breaks. Even the biggest electric long-haul trucks will be able to carry the same weight of goods as diesel by 2030 because the weight of the battery is offset by removing the engine and by a 2-tonne extra allowance for zero emission vehicles under EU rules.

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Fedor Unterlohner, clean freight manager at T&E, commented: “Cheaper, stronger, further. EU lawmakers can set a 2035 deadline to reach zero emissions sales with confidence that electric rigs will beat diesel trucks every time. This will cut costs for hauliers and clean up trucking while allowing European truckmakers to retain their global leadership.” The European Commission will make a proposal to tighten climate targets for heavy-duty vehicles in the coming months.


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