31st March 2021

Is the future of HGVs electric?

The haulage industry is waking up to the threat of global warming, and zero-emissions is at the forefront of operations for several HGV giants. To combat climate change, chief executives at DAF, Daimler, Ford, Iveco, MAN, Scania and Volvo Group have created a roadmap that says by 2040, all new trucks will need to be fossil-free to reach net-zero by 2050. 

Renault Trucks are the latest to confirm that they aim to reduce their carbon footprint by introducing more electric trucks and achieving zero-emissions fleet status within the next 30 years. 
Renault has said they will be marketing all-electric vehicles for distribution, construction and long-distance, all by 2023. Renault has even dedicated an arm of their business to focus on electric mobility – certifying its pledge to reduce global warming.

How much does transport contribute to global warming? 

Transport is responsible for almost one-fifth of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA.) The IEA’s data also specifies that road transport specifically accounts for 15% of the total CO2 emissions. These figures show the impact that the haulage industry is having on the planet.  

So, is the answer as simple as reducing the number of trucks on the road?  

Without the vital roles that HGVs, haulage and freight play in keeping goods moving across countries, society and the economy will look very different. The issue has developed into a balancing act of maintaining road transport and ensuring that emissions levels reduce.  

Renault says they want to help meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. The legally binding agreement was created in 2015 as an international treaty to combat climate change. Initially adopted by 196 parties, the treaty has since impacted business globally – making an impression on industries of all kinds.  

Renault Trucks already have an all-electric range on the market, which range from 3.1 to 26 tonnes. The ‘D Z.E.’, ‘D Wide Z.E.’ and the ‘Master Z.E.’ all cater to the needs of urban transport, delivery, distribution and waste collection. But they want to extend vehicle electrification to all uses, and Renault Trucks aim to lead the field in electric HGVs. 

 “Electric mobility is the pillar of our strategy, and we aim to lead the field,” said Bruno Blin, President of Renault Trucks. “We’re aiming for 35% of our sales to be electric in 2030. By 2040, all our vehicle ranges will be 100% fossil-free.”

Will solar-powered HGV trailers play a role in electric HGVs?

Who else is working on electric HGV vehicles?

Motor Transport reported that in 2020, only 2% of global LCV vehicles were electric. But they hope that by 2030 – when the ‘digital industrial revolution’ will be in full swing – that manufacturers will create 1,000,000 electric LCVs every year – equating to 40% of the LCV output. 

DAF Trucks are another leading HGV manufacturer that is working hard to decrease its carbon footprint. The DAF CF Electric has harnessed VDL e-power technology to increase their driving range to over 200km.  

Electric pioneers, Tesla are also working tirelessly on their fossil-free HGV range. Tesla’s ‘Semi’ is their leading carbon-neutral lorry. Tesla says the vehicle can carry loads of 36 tonnes for up to 500 miles – slashing energy costs and using less than 2kW hours per mile. Although, buyers can expect to pay at least £110,000 for the privilege.  

The transport industry is carrying the heavy burden of being one of the biggest polluters, but increasing HGV eco-innovation intends to pave the way to a greener future. Have you had any experience driving an electric HGV yet? 

Josh Cousens | SNAP. 

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