UK and European lorry makers are at risk of losing out to US and Chinese competitors in the race to produce net zero emissions, an environmental group has warned.

DAF, which owns UK manufacturer Leyland, and Iveco are among the companies lagging behind in the race away from polluting diesel and towards zero-carbon technology such as batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, said Transport & Environment (T&E), a Brussels-based campaign group.

The truck industry is far behind the car industry in the shift away from fossil fuels, in part because of the higher cost of installing enough electric batteries to carry tonnes of cargo over longer distances. However, manufacturers are gradually developing zero emissions lorries, starting with smaller vehicles for urban deliveries.

Volkswagen’s Scania and MAN and Mercedes-Benz Trucks make the diesel lorries best placed to shift to electric versions, T&E said. The group ranked the manufacturers on a 100-point scale, with points awarded for aspects such as Mercedes-Benz’s plans to only sell zero-emission trucks by 2040 or Scania’s solid industrial strategies to achieve the goals.

However, other existing truck makers risk losing out to newer entrants such as US electric vehicle pioneer Tesla and its Chinese rival BYD, T&E said. That could represent a potential repeat of the new manufacturers’ rapid ascent in carmaking, which left “legacy” carmakers scrambling to catch up.

The European Commission has proposed rules for manufacturers to cut average carbon emissions of new lorries by 45% compared with 2019-2020, but T&E said it wants this target toughened to 65% to spur investment in clean technology.

Sofie Defour, T&E’s freight director, said: “There’s a huge gap in the truck industry between manufacturers with a plan to fully decarbonise and those without. The EU needs strong truck CO2 standards to bring the whole European industry up to speed.”

The least prepared among Europe’s lorry makers was DAF Trucks, which is owned by the US’s Paccar. DAF builds its 19-tonne LF Electric at its Leyland subsidiary in Lancashire, but unlike its rivals it has no public target for zero-emission truck sales by 2030.

A DAF spokesperson said the company does not recognise the picture offered by T&E, citing its sale of electric trucks since 2018 and “a completely new generation of electric trucks with zero[-emission] ranges of up to 500km [310 miles]”.

The spokesperson said: “DAF is embracing these impressive targets and is therefore fully committed to deliver our customers the right zero emission vehicles for the job. That means that on the way to sustainable road transport, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution’. We will need a variety of technologies, of which some we already offer today and of which some are under development.”

Italian-listed Iveco was marked down for pushing for renewable and low-carbon diesels, which still produce carbon dioxide, to be allowed in the future.

skip past newsletter promotion

BYD is already selling electric trucks in the US, Europe and China, and it has the significant advantage of also being one of the world’s dominant battery makers.

Tesla boss Elon Musk has long been promising to revolutionise the trucking industry, although his company’s Semi lorry is still at the pilot stage after being unveiled in 2017, with production promised to start in 2019. Musk last week said Tesla would not be able to start large-scale production until late 2024 because of battery supply constraints. However, T&E said the company had valuable experience in scaling up EV production, as well as strong supply chains and raw material supply.

US and Chinese companies are also among the worst performers on T&E’s scale. The lowest scorers were China’s Sinotruk and FAW, just beaten by the Paccar’s Kenworth and Peterbilt brands. The companies were approached for comment.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *