HDV industry drastically behind on emissions targets – report

Out of the 13mn ZEV trucks needed for 2035 decarbonisation targets, only 100,000 were produced last year

HDV industry drastically behind on emissions targets – report
Carbon Tracker finds that ten OEMs meet 70pc of global HDV demand

Production of electric heavy duty vehicles (HDVs) is drastically off the pace necessary to meet freight industry decarbonisation goals, according to a new report from thinktank Carbon Tracker.

The report surveys eight HGV manufacturers: European firms Volvo Group, Daimler Truck, Traton and Iveco, as well as India's Tata Motors, China's BYD, and Toyota's Hino brand. Paccar is the only US firm surveyed.

Carbon Tracker finds that fewer than 100,000 new zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) HGVs were produced globally in 2023. The thinktank projects that in order to meet International Energy Agency net zero targets by 2035, more than 13mn such vehicles will need to be deployed cumulatively.

The targets on course to be missed include the EU's 2035 65pc emissions reduction for HDVs, the UK's end of non-ZEV truck sales by 2035, and varying levels of emissions reductions in the US which differ by vehicle class.

"The poor performance of leading HDV manufacturers risk putting wider climate goals at risk: despite only making up 3pc of vehicles on the road, HDVs contribute 30pc of emissions from road transport and that percentage is expected to grow as electrification spreads across smaller vehicles," Carbon Tracker says.

The disparity between the HDV industry and the passenger car industry in terms of their build up to 2035 emissions goals is attributed in part to a high level of market consolidation in the HDV space.

Carbon Tracker finds that ten OEMs account for 70pc of the global HDV market, and that incumbent manufacturers are therefore not facing competition from emerging ZEV pure plays — as has happened in the passenger car market.

Next steps

The report criticises the surveyed automakers for not having sufficient intermediate milestones leading up to the final 2035 emissions deadline. Tata and Hino were found to have no intermediate targets whatsoever.

“The lack of short-term targets reduces the likelihood of long-term goals being met and increases the risk of a disorderly transition to electrification,” says Ben Scott, author of the report and head of automotive at Carbon Tracker.

Another fundamental problem for the electrification of freight is the lack of availability of ZEV models that have been developed. The report finds that "manufacturers are producing relatively few models and in very limited volumes, with most using less than 1pc of production capacity on EVs".

With the exception of EV pure play BYD, there is a disparity between the number of ZEVs manufacturers offer and their percentage shares of total production output. For example, the report finds that 50pc of the models offered by Italian firm Iveco are zero-emissions, but that these accounted for only 0.5pc of the company's 2023 production.

While some range challenges potentially persist for long-haul freight use cases, Carbon Tracker finds that leading HDV makers are not taking obvious opportunities to electrify "short and medium haul logistics which can be achieved using existing battery technology and EV charging infrastructure deployments".

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