The transport sector has ambitious sustainability targets to hit.
Our sector is on a mission to cut carbon. Sustainability is key for the future of the transport industry, and the planet.
But a quarter of all carbon emissions in the UK come from transport, making ours the UK’s highest emitting sector. And, according to the National Grid, 16% of these emissions are caused by Heavy Goods Vehicles.
One thing’s for sure – if the UK is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, there are some big changes to be made.
The good news? Last year, the Government made a pledge that all new HGVs in Britain would be zero emission by 2040.
So, how are things progressing towards zero emission HGVs?
What’s happening in the UK
Progress is faster in some areas than others.
The longer-term outlook is looking good, with the UK Government working to ensure that the very best technology for zero emission HGVs becomes the industry standard. Back in May, £200m of funding was announced for a three-year Zero Emission Road Freight (ZERF) demonstrator programme…
Applications for a share of £140m of this funding closed earlier in October. Successful applicants will work with the Department for Transport to demonstrate innovations across three strands:
- Zero emission road freight battery electric truck demonstration.
- Zero emission road freight hydrogen fuel cell truck demonstration.
- Zero emission road freight battery and hydrogen demonstration.
According to former Transport Minister Trudy Harrison MP: “The demonstrations will help the UK’s freight sector reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by finding which zero emission technologies are best suited to the heaviest road vehicles in the UK.”
This is heartening to hear – especially since, as a rule, the heavier a vehicle is, the more difficult it is to make carbon neutral.
On the flipside, progress is slow in the here and now. A survey carried out by Microlise in May found that no UK hauliers had plans to introduce electric or zero emission HGVs in the next 12 months.
Thankfully, bigger companies with the resources to make a change are leading by example. Amazon, for instance, unveiled its first fleet of fully electric HGVs in the UK – a follow-up to their Europe-wide distribution of more than 3,000 electric vehicles.
Hopefully, the advances being made today are enough to keep the industry on-track.
Europe: the HGVZero initiative
It’s not just the UK that’s dedicated to sustainability in the transport sector.
In Europe, collaborators including Tesco, Coca-Cola and Eddie Stobart have launched an initiative called HGVZero. The initiative is being overseen by Innovation Gateway, who introduced the EVZero scheme in the UK earlier in the year.
HGVZero aims to map both charging and refueling infrastructures across Europe to spot gaps, identify challenges, and co-develop solutions, ultimately helping us on the way to zero emission HGVs.
Organisastions that want to join can do so on the Innovation Gateway website. The benefits of doing so include:
- The design and development of shared mechanisms and processes.
- Access to industry-leading expertise.
- Collaborative solution design and joint projects.
- Co-investment and shared assets.
“Being a part of this collaborative action group will enable us to knowledge share and invest our resources wisely to maximise success in both short- and long-term HGV projects whilst collectively improving future HGV strategy” – Ellen Young, Director Procurement & GB Lead for Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.
Keeping pace with sustainability initiatives
Innovation and expertise are essential in organisations looking to keep pace with current and pending sustainability initiatives.
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