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The road to zero emissions causes controversy among manufacturers

06/12/2018 • 07:29am

Manufacturers and fleet operators are gearing up for huge strides in electric vehicle technology over the next decade or so. However, additional pressure is also mounting on vehicle manufacturers to reach tight emissions targets before the year 2030.

A recent vote held by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee on CO2 emissions reductions has revised targets for the coming years. A mandatory target of 15% fewer emissions by 2025 has been swapped for a 20% target, while a voluntary goal of a 30% reduction by 2030 has been amended to 35%.

Tough targets to reach

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA – French: Association des Constucteurs Européens d’Automobiles) has called the EU’s aims for reducing carbon emissions from HGVs “too ambitious”. For manufacturers, the ACEA says that these revised targets are “extremely stringent” and that the existing aim of a 30% cut by 2030 was “already highly challenging”.

Instead, the association has suggested changing the targets to a 7% cut by 2025 and a 15% cut for 2030, as this would be more manageable and would likely have more support from the manufacturing industry. One key factor of this is the development and testing required to produce efficient and environmentally compliant HGVs, which takes considerably longer than it does for other vehicles.

Combining electrical with diesel

While electric engines are widely regarded as the future of cutting down on harmful emissions, it’s difficult for HGVs to go fully electric. Because of the size and weight they can carry, HGV engines require considerably more power leaving manufacturers to pin their hopes on being able to utilise a mix of diesel and electric energy.

In the meantime, the latest Euro 6d-Temp approved diesels have been found to emit significantly fewer harmful emissions than previous vehicles. For companies in particular, diesels will continue to play an important role, as those transporting goods across long distances have no realistic alternative to diesel at least in the immediate future.


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