EU member states have reached a provisional agreement in the early hours of February 19, pushing truckmakers to cut carbon emissions of trucks sold in Europe by 30% by 2030 compared to 2019 emissions. The bloc’s deal follows the agreement reached in December on new CO2 emission standards for cars and light duty-vehicles (LDV) after 2020 in the EU; for cars  15% lower in 2025 and 35% lower in 2030, compared to the emission limits valid in 2021. For vans, the Council maintains the targets as proposed by the European Commission: 15% in 2025 and 30% in 2030.The new pact is a first for emissions reductions of heavy-duty vehicles (HDV). The legislation will be reviewed in 2022 to help drive emissions down in line with the Paris climate goals.

Cars and LDVs already account for some 15% of the bloc’s emissions and HDVs responsible for around 6% of the bloc’s total CO2 emissions and currently used to transport around two-thirds of freight across the EU. The sets of legislative proposals on clean mobility introduced by the Juncker Commission, will help further modernisation of the European mobility sector and prepare the EU for climate neutrality by 2050 onwards.

“With the first ever EU emission standards for trucks agreed, we are completing the legal framework to reach the European target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030.” said Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete. “The new targets and incentives will help tackle emissions, as well as bring fuel savings to transport operators and cleaner air for all Europeans. For the EU industry, this is an opportunity to embrace innovation towards zero-emission mobility and further strengthen its global leadership in clean vehicles.”

The fleet of new HDVs sold in 2025 will be required to emit 15% less CO2 compared to 2019 level. This leads to a net economic fuel savings of over €20,000 for one truck in the first 5 years. With 30% reduction of emissions of new trucks by 2030, the fuel savings per vehicle over a 5-year period is almost €60,000. However, manufacturers whose new truck sales are more than 2% electric and hydrogen vehicles will be rewarded with a less rigorous CO2 target. The deal also includes a 2-tonne additional weight allowance for zero-emission trucks.

Around 5 million heavy trucks were sold and produced in the world in 2014. Daimler and Volvo also sell trucks in the US, South America and Asia. For example, combined Daimler (46%) and Volvo (8%) accounted for more than half of the US production. Volvo has a joint venture with Chinese truckmaker Dongfeng which makes it a big player in China. In 2008 EU manufacturers and their partners accounted for 40% of all global production.

In 2015 some 450,000 medium and heavy trucks were sold in Europe. Around 20% of these are medium heavy trucks (3.5 to 15 tons) but the vast majority (around 80%) of vehicles are heavy trucks (+15tons). The numbers for the EU market can be found on the website of ACEA – the federation of the automobile industry.

Photo: Courtesy of EU Climate Action