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A new super-sized electric truck from the company Scania is hitting the road in Norway. Photo courtesy of Scania.

Clean Transport

Enough Public Charging for Higher EU Truck CO2 Targets, Analysis Finds

New analysis of Europe’s plans for public charging finds there will be enough infrastructure for higher EU electric truck targets in 2030.

Europe’s infrastructure law means public chargers will be able to supply 97% of the energy trucks need in 2030.

Charging infrastructure is seen as the main barrier to a faster roll-out of zero-emission trucks, but new analysis of EU public charging targets finds Europe will have enough to significantly ramp up truck CO2 standards. Transport & Environment (T&E) called on lawmakers to mandate a 65% cut in truck CO2 emissions in 2030, which goes further than the EU Commission’s proposed standards and is in line with the bloc’s climate commitments.

By 2030, Europe will have 13.79 TWh of charging energy per year for heavy duty vehicles, according to T&E analysis of EU infrastructure targets and additional plans in Germany.¹ That would supply 97% of the energy needs of the electric trucks and coaches on the road if the EU set the higher target for truckmakers. A recently agreed EU law obliges member states to install at least one truck charging hub every 60-100 km along major motorways.

Fabian Sperka, vehicles policy manager at T&E, said: “Truckmaker scaremongering that there won’t be enough public charging does not stand up to scrutiny. Charging is not an obstacle to more ambitious truck climate targets. Not only will the EU’s new infrastructure law provide enough charging for the proposed 2030 CO2 standards, it enables lawmakers to go further.”

Truckmakers’ lobby group ACEA is demanding four times the public charging capacity that is needed to meet the EU Commission’s truck CO2 targets in 2030. This would result in charge points being used for just over 30 minutes a day, on average. T&E said this would lead to massive overbuilding of the charging network and that public subsidies would be needed to make it viable. Increasing the 2030 truck CO2 standard to 65% would result in public chargers being used 4 hours a day, according to the analysis.

Fabian Sperka said: “Claims that EU public charging targets are insufficient ignore the fact that electric trucks will be mostly plugged in at private chargers. Overbuilding the network would leave public chargers underutilised and require massive subsidies. Higher CO2 standards will expand the zero emissions truck fleets in line with EU climate goals while guaranteeing that public chargers are optimally used.”

MEPs and EU governments are expected to agree new truck CO2 standards by the end of the legislative term in 2024. Trucks account for just 2% of the vehicles on the road but are responsible for more than a quarter of EU road transport CO2 emissions.

¹ T&E analysed the targets in the EU Alternative Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) as well as plans for public charging in Germany, a key truck transit country, which go beyond that.

Courtesy of Transport & Environment (T&E). More info here:

Fully charged for 2030

New analysis of Europe’s plans for public charging finds there will be enough infrastructure for higher EU electric truck targets in 2030.

Charging and refuelling infrastructure is often cited as the main obstacle for an obligation on truck manufacturers to ramp-up zero-emissions truck and bus sales more quickly. T&E has analysed the public charging infrastructure targets recently agreed under the new EU Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR), as well as the additional deployment plans in Germany, and compared public charging availability with the projected energy demand of the zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) fleet in 2030. We found that AFIR will provide sufficient public charging infrastructure EU-wide to reduce the CO2 emissions from new HDVs by -65%, and will be more than enough for the -45% target proposed under the HDV CO2 standards by the European Commission.

AFIR obliges each EU member state to install a minimum of one charging hub exclusively for HDVs every 60 km (TEN-T core) to 100 km (TEN-T network) in each direction of travel by 2030. It represents the world’s first of its kind. Some member states have already announced they will go beyond AFIR. Based on AFIR and the infrastructure plans in the central truck transit country Germany, we project that an annual charging energy of 13.79 TWh will be available in 2030. This is under conservative assumptions such as a utilisation of high power chargers of only 4 hours per day.

To estimate the demand, we looked at the zero-emission sales targets of the HDV CO2 standards. The Commission has recently proposed a new 2030 target of -45% in 2030. This would lead to a public energy demand from the battery electric truck and coach fleet of 8.13 TWh, or 41% below the charging available under the new AFIR. This risks leaving a large proportion of the planned infrastructure unused, potentially undermining the business case of companies such as Milence. On the other hand, if EU lawmakers were to increase the CO2 target for 2030 to -65%, the HDV fleet would have a charging energy need of 14.25 TWh, much closer to what the AFI will provide. The projected infrastructure would then be capable of supplying 97% of the required public charging demand.

AFIR will also lead to the deployment of sufficient hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Under the assumption of a -65% target in 2030, the hydrogen powered HDV-fleet is expected to require 344,000 tonnes of hydrogen annually by 2030. The mandated targets in AFIR alone will provide 337,000 tonnes per year, covering 98% of the needs.

Beyond Germany, this analysis does not take into account the plans of other member states — such as the Netherlands and Austria — whose charging plans also go beyond their respective obligations under the AFIR. In addition, a number of private Charging Point Operators (CPOs) are ready to deploy truck charging infrastructure on a large scale in the next couple of years. It is therefore very likely that this analysis is on the conservative side of what charging infrastructure will be available in 2030.

Finally, we looked into recommendations made by truck makers for the deployment of public charging infrastructure. Their demands would lead to a total installed charging power of 30.25 GW in 2030, meaning the infrastructure would be able to power a fleet of electric trucks almost 4.2 times the projected size in 2030. This recommendation entirely disregards the fact that many electric trucks will charge at private locations. If the ACEA recommendation were to materialise, it could potentially have adverse effects on charging businesses who invest in heavy-duty vehicle charging infrastructure. This is mainly due to the expected low utilisation of the charging equipment (just 32 minutes each day). As a result, there may be a considerable risk of financial loss, which may prompt the need for costly public subsidies funded by taxpayers.

MEPs and EU-governments can ramp up CO2 reduction targets for trucks in 2030 as high as -65% with confidence that there will be enough charging available. In fact, clean truck targets adequate to the expected availability of charging infrastructure are key for efficient utilisation and subsequently the business case for CPOs.

To find out more, download the analysis.

Courtesy of Transport & Environment (T&E).

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Transport & Environment’s (T&E) vision is a zero-emission mobility system that is affordable and has minimal impacts on our health, climate and environment. Created over 30 years ago, we have shaped some of Europe’s most important environmental laws.


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