The EU Environment Committee adopted its proposals to strengthen EU CO2 emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles (HDV), which include buses, trucks, and trailers. Raising the 2030 target from -30% target to -45% will lead to a strong push for sales and production of electric trucks (and zero-emission vehicles in general) in the upcoming years.
The report was adopted with 48 votes in favor, 36 against, and one abstention. It says that strengthening CO2 emission reduction requirements for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) and rolling out the necessary recharging and refueling infrastructure will play a key role in reducing the emissions of the entire HDV fleet to achieve the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal.
The European Parliament wants strong CO2 emissions reduction targets for medium and heavy trucks, including vocational vehicles (such as garbage trucks, tippers, or concrete mixers) and buses. These targets would be set at 45% for the period 2030-2034, 70% for 2035-2039 (compared to 65% proposed by the Commission) and 90% as of 2040.
The European Parliament agreed that newly registered urban buses should be zero-emission vehicles from 2030. They added the possibility for member states to request a temporary exemption (until 2035) for urban buses fuelled by biomethane under strict conditions linked to refueling infrastructure and the fuel’s origin.
Other proposed measures include:
- Setting up an annual “Zero-Emission HDVs Forum” to work on the effective and cost-efficient roll-out of recharging and refueling infrastructure;
- By the end of 2026, the Commission should assess the possibility of developing a methodology for reporting full lifecycle CO2 emissions for new HDVs.
Rapporteur Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL) said: “The transition towards zero-emission trucks and buses is not only key to meeting our climate targets, but also a crucial driver for cleaner air in our cities. We are providing clarity for one of the major manufacturing industries in Europe and a clear incentive to invest in electrification and hydrogen. We’re building on the Commission’s proposal but with more ambition. We want to expand the scope of the rules to small and medium-sized lorries and vocational vehicles – sectors that are especially important for urban air quality – and we’re adapting several targets and benchmarks to catch up with reality, as the transition is moving faster than expected.”
On 14 February 2023, the Commission tabled a legislative proposal to set CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles from 2030 onwards to help reach the EU’s objective for climate neutrality by 2050 and lower the demand for imported fossil fuels. Heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks, city buses, and long-distance buses, are responsible for more than 25% of EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from road transport and account for over 6% of total EU GHG emissions.