EU agrees on 90% CO2 reduction for heavy-duty transport (update)

The European Council confirmed on Friday an agreement with the EU Parliament on a 90% CO2 emission reduction by 2040 for heavy-duty vehicles and a 100% reduction for buses by 2035. It came after a last-minute debate within Germany’s coalition over the proposal, with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), the smallest party in the three-party coalition, having objections.

Negotiators from the Belgian Presidency, representing the EU member countries, agreed in January to new and stricter CO2 requirements, but later, Germany hit the brakes and wanted to ensure e-fuels would still be allowed after 2040. The green light given by member states’ representatives on Friday clears the way for the European Parliament to vote on the new rules, which it is expected to do before the end of April.

The European Commission first proposed a 90% reduction in heavy road transport (>7,5 t trucks and buses) CO2 emissions by 2040 in February 2023, with interim targets of 2030 (45% reduction) and 2035 (65% reduction).

In January, it was agreed, adding an amendment for urban buses, which will have to hit 90% zero-emission by 2030 and 100% by 2035. Inter-city buses are exempt from this and will stick to the regular targets.

Other categories, such as vocational vehicles (garbage trucks, concrete mixers), smaller trucks (<5 t), and retrofitted vehicles, will be looked at by the Commission to analyze their role in this new regulation.

ACEA reminds the EU that infrastructure is needed

Meanwhile, the Constructors’ Association ACEA emphasizes the need for better infrastructure to support these zero-emission vehicles. “To achieve targets by 2030, more than 400 000 battery-electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles will have to be on the road, and at least one-third of all new registrations must be zero-emission models,” reads the statement of ACEA.

“Europe needs at least 50,000 suitable charging stations (the majority being Megawatt Charging Systems) and at least 700 hydrogen refilling stations to make the equation work.”

Norway, not a member of the EU but with close relations thanks to the European Economic Area (EEA), has set a stricter target for itself: 100% zero-emission trucks by 2030.

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