Four EU nations call for combustion bus & truck phase out


Four EU member states call on the European Commission to set an end date for new trucks and buses with combustion engines. The push comes ahead of stricter CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles due in February and echoes similar sentiments of some in the industry.

A joint statement sees the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Luxembourg calling on the EU Commission to include a zero-emission target for heavy-duty vehicles in the new proposal. They do not give a target date but refer to the EU goal of climate neutrality by 2050. “The upcoming revision of the CO2 standards for HDVs (heavy-duty vehicles) provides a unique opportunity to send a strong signal to the market and incentivise a timely transition,” says the joint statement by the four countries.

The Quartet is also calling for stricter interim CO2 emission targets for new trucks and buses by 2030 and an extension of CO2 limits to additional road freight vehicles because about 35% of the sector’s emissions are not in the EU’s existing CO2 standards.

The Commission’s proposal, scheduled for next month as part of the new Green Deal, would replace the EU’s current requirement that manufacturers ensure a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to 2019/2020 levels.

However, even these targets have been challenged politically and within the industry. For example, a study by Agora Verkehrswende mirrors an assessment by Daimler Truck that the transition could and should be faster. Agora advocates bringing forward the 30 per cent target to 2027 and setting a 65 per cent reduction for 2030. Price Waterhouse Coopers had come to similarly optimistic forecasts when looking at the current speed of the logistics industry moving forward, as reported. Daimler Truck, on a recent panel, also suggested an approach beyond mere CO2 emission targets and wants to see “a precise share of ZEV vehicles in the market set by policy market, not a CO2 reduction target because planning security is missing today.” This could also include skipping Euro-7 entirely, so Daimler.

For passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, the EU bodies had already decided upon the end of new cars with combustion engines from 2035.

Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.


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