Europe’s seven largest commercial truck makers have jointly agreed to end the sale of diesel-engined trucks by 2040. Instead, Daf, Daimler, Ford, Iveco, Man, Scania, and Volvo will switch focus to hydrogen fuel cell and battery-electric vehicles, allowing them to achieve their zero-emissions goals a full decade earlier than previously planned.
To help meet that new goal, those seven manufacturers are expected to invest between €50-100 billion on new technologies related to the move away from diesel. The agreement, which was signed by each of the manufacturers’ CEOs, also advocates a general investment in energy infrastructure, such as chargers and hydroelectric generators, and calls for the creation of a higher tax on carbon emissions across Europe to help governments encourage industry-wide changes.
“If politicians continue to subsidize fossil fuels, it will be very difficult for us, we have to change the behavior of our clients and our clients’ clients,” says Henrik Henriksson, CEO of Saab Scania.
The truck makers will be working with Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, under the umbrella of EU automaker association (the ACEA), to look into the best approaches to take and what new technologies to invest in. Professor Johan Rockström explained to Financial Times that the trucking industry is one of the most challenging areas facing companies looking to lower their carbon footprints. “It’s the backbone of any society in the world today,” he offers, “but we have to recognize that (the truck manufacturers) are very dependent on the internal combustion [diesel] engines to transport all the goods of every industry.”
One of the reasons cited for the expected difficulty in transitioning to alternative power trains is that, while battery electric vehicles work well in more urban environments, they still fall short when it comes to longer-distance trips. At the moment, it’s widely expected that hydrogen will be the most likely solution to the problem of long-distance trucks, with biofuels and synthetic fuels expected to be useful as a near-term solution.
If I know CleanTechnica’s readers the way I think I do, I think we’ll almost all agree that biofuels and synthetic diesel fuels as a mainstream solution are … let’s go with: problematic (at best). That said, the Potsdam Institute has done lots of good work in the climate study fields, so they’ll probably come to the right conclusions. Right?
Scroll on down to the comments section at the bottom of the page and let us know what you think of this latest diesel dooming development, and whether or not you think Potsdam and the alliance’s CEOs will get it right. Enjoy!