The Council of the European Union and the European Parliament have reached a provisional deal on CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles that would make manufacturers cut the average emissions of trucks by 90% by 2040, and of urban buses by 100% by 2035.
The aim is to further reduce CO2 emissions in the road transport sector, introduce new targets for 2030, 2035 and 2040, and encourage an increase in the share of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the EU-wide heavy-duty vehicle fleet, the Council of the European Union said.
The new rules will contribute to fulfilling the EU’s 2030 climate ambitions and reaching climate neutrality by 2050.
The deal now has to be formally adopted by both institutions, after which the legislation is to be published in the Official Journal of the EU and enter into force.
The co-legislators agreed to expand the scope of the regulation to make almost all new heavy-duty vehicles with certified CO2 emissions – including smaller trucks, urban buses, coaches and trailers – subject to emission reduction targets.
The heavy-duty vehicle sector is responsible for over 25% of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport
An exemption would be granted to small-volume manufacturers and vehicles used for mining, forestry and agriculture and for vehicles for use by armed forces, fire services, civil protection, public order and medical care.
The deal maintains the targets set by the European Commission in its proposal for 2030 (45%), 2035 (65%), and 2040 (90%), in addition to the 2025 reduction target of 15%, which was already provided for in the current regulation.
A 100% zero-emission target for urban buses by 2035 would be set as well, with an intermediate target of 90% by 2030, the council said.
It added the heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) sector is responsible for over 25% of greenhouse gas emissions from road transport in the EU. CO2 emissions standards for certain HDVs were set for the first time in 2019, with targets for 2025 to 2029 and for 2030 onwards.
Transport and Environment: Lawmakers endorsed CO2 targets that will phase out almost all sales of new diesel trucks by 2040
Green group Transport and Environment (T&E) said that the European lawmakers agreed to set CO2 targets that would phase out almost all sales of new diesel trucks by 2040.
The law provides European truck producers planning certainty to go zero emissions and compete with foreign electric truckmakers, it said.
Heavy-duty vehicles are the second-biggest transport polluter in Europe
T&E estimates the EU targets would result in around 30% of trucks sold in 2030, and at least three-quarters in 2040, being zero emissions – electric or hydrogen. After cars, heavy-duty vehicles are the biggest transport polluter in Europe.
Fedor Unterlohner, freight manager at T&E, said the EU is clearly telling truckmakers when almost all their vehicles would need to be zero emissions.
“European producers now have a clear trajectory to ramp up production of electric and hydrogen rigs and be ready for the challenge of Tesla and Chinese rivals,” he stressed.
According to the T&E, the negotiators resisted pressure from the fossil fuel industry to create a loophole in the targets for e-fuels and biofuels.