Germany is aiming to slash heavy-vehicle emissions with a new plan introduced that waives truck tolls for electric trucks. The policy would start next year. The change would result in a net savings of around €5,000 per vehicle, depending on the routes used.
Federal transport minister Andreas Scheuer introduced the plan in an effort to improve air quality in cities, which are becoming increasingly active in owning and combatting urban emissions. “Electric trucks will be exempt from truck tolls from 1 January 2019. This is a great incentive for transport companies to switch to green vehicles,” the minister said of the plan to Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Up until 2017, heavy trucks weren’t getting much love from companies pushing into electric vehicles, with the exception of China-based BYD’s electric truck offerings — which include flatbed trucks, box trucks, garbage trucks, and even a fully electric Class 8 truck. The plan sets Germany up as a prime target for all early movers looking to get a jump on the market and has the potential to drive significant reductions in urban emissions, with the average heavy-duty truck consuming 40 times the fuel of the average personal vehicle.
In parallel to the move, the German government is expanding the existing toll on trucks, which is currently limited to the nearly 15,000 kilometers of highways in Germany. Starting in July, the toll will also be levied on 40,000 kilometers of federal highways, resulting in what will effectively be an incremental carbon tax on internal combustion vehicles, while electric trucks will skate by the tolls unscathed.
The German government is hoping that the new program will provide an extra incentive for fleet managers looking to justify an early push into electric trucks. As with any early adopter incentive, this program almost certainly has a finite life or the German government will have to find another source of revenue to offset the estimated €5 billion it brings in from the truck toll over the long haul.
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