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Government Must Decide Which Zero-Emission Route HGVs Must Take To Achieve Greenhouse Reduction Targets

Government Must Decide Which Zero-Emission Route HGVs Must Take To Achieve Greenhouse Reduction Targets

With any significant project, it’s essential to know the end goal. To understand the objectives and plan the journey towards them. And yet we’re still unclear how the UK will reduce HGVs emissions as we don’t yet know the final destination. Despite this, HGV legislation is progressing that will require the HGV sector to meet strict emissions targets by 2030.

So far, so obvious. We know what needs be done. However, we have no understanding of the zero-emission HGV technology that will guide the investments in the UK government’s Road To Zero strategy. Until the transport sector knows the direction of travel, it’s impossible to undertake the appropriate industry planning required to meet the emissions aspirations.

HGV Commitments

While the Road to Zero Strategy is a general approach, there are specific elements that directly impact on the HGV sector

  • An industry-wide commitment to reduce HGV CO2 level by 15% by 2025, from 2015 levels.
  • Helping the HGV sector to develop an ultra-low emission standard.
  • Testing of gas-fuelled HGVs to inform government policy and generate support for gas as a low emissions fuel for HGVs.
  • A comprehensive study by Highways England to assess zero-emission HGV technology for use on the UK road network.

The Zero-Emission HGV Technology

There are several zero-emission HGV technology feasibility studies currently underway. Each option will require a different associated infrastructure. Crucially, each would need radically different HGV vehicles to align with the arrangements. There are several areas of study underway:

  • Hydrogen refuelling stations. To service HGV’s using emission-free hydrogen fuel cells. This is the cheapest option but still will need an extensive network of fuel distribution points able to deal with highly explosive hydrogen fuel.
  • Rapid charging stations. These will serve electrically powered HGVs providing the ability to quickly recharge onboard batteries reducing none productive time as much as possible. This approach will be more expensive than a hydrogen-based network.
  • Dynamic (in motion) road charging. By far the most innovative option but also only at the early stages of the feasibility study. The creation of networks where vehicles can charge inductively while in motion from overhead or the road surface. Like a large Scalextric if you like. A radical option with considerable cost implications.
  • Hybrid Solutions. A combination of any or all of the above.

And The Winner Is

That’s the issue. We just don’t know. And while there are quite a few years to go, some direction from the political sphere will help the HGV industry with their long-term investment and fleet strategies.

As Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change said:

“Overall, Road to Zero falls short of our expectations. The Committee had hoped for a ground-breaking Strategy to tackle emissions from transport – now the most polluting sector of the UK economy. Road to Zero has not risen to the task.’

Action Is Needed

Urgent action! With the distraction of Brexit and indeed, whether the UK will follow through on our EU commitments, clarity is paramount. The government can’t rely solely on the private sector to rise to the challenge.

The Truckcraft team are proud of the products we have developed and will develop, to address climate issues. We’re doing our bit. But more guidance and support from the government is undoubtedly the primary catalyst to substantial progress regarding the UK’s commitment to reducing harmful HGV emissions.

Let’s hope it comes soon.

For more information on our approach to emission reduction, please contact the Truckcraft Bodies sales team on 0161 304 9404. Alternatively, email or

Published: Jul 03

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