A big focus for European truck manufacturers in 2021 and beyond is reaching carbon neutrality in road freight transport. Carbon neutrality is the term given to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emission and the industry predicts this could be a reality by 2050 at the latest. Low and zero-emission vehicles will play an absolute vital role in reaching this goal. acea.auto reports that their numbers and range will increase rapidly over the coming years and it’s already happening.
Across Europe, the first hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are already being rolled out. By 2030, they expect at least 60,000 trucks to be in operation. FCEVs are powered by hydrogen and are more efficient than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. The biggest selling point of this particular type of electric vehicle is the face that pride no tailpipe emissions. They only emit water vapour and warm are. Other benefits include energy security and strengthening the economy. FCEVs are fuelled with pure hydrogen gas that is stored in a tank on the vehicle. They’re also equipped with other advanced technologies to increase efficiency, such as regenerative braking systems that have the ability to capture the energy lost during braking and store it in a battery.
Although there are a limited but growing number of FCEVs hitting the public market, infrastructure that can support is still somewhat developing. Afrom the European Automobile Manufactures Association states that the charging and refuelling infrastructure necessary for zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles is ‘almost completely lacking.’ For battery electric heavy-duty vehicles, a target of 10,000 – 15,000 public and destination charging points should be set for no later than 2025, they also suggest. In addition to this, they also make the case for public overnight chargers at truck parking areas along duel carriageways and motorways.
Alternatively-fuelled vehicles running on fuels with a high renewable share should also see continued support as they develop the right infrastructure across the board. The European Automobile Manufactures Association also state that binding targets must be set for each Member State to ensure that the required number of hydrogen refuelling stations are available across the EU by proposed deadlines 2025 and 2030. You can find a visual map of how many truck hydrogen refuelling stations are needed in Europe by country.
These key technologies will fast become the backbone of road freight transport, let’s hope the economy catches up in time.