A prototype full-electric 16-tonne Volta commercial vehicle that will be used for customer evaluation in London and Paris by mid-2022, ahead of series production starting by the end of next year. - Credit: Volta Trucks

A prototype full-electric 16-tonne Volta commercial vehicle that will be used for customer evaluation in London and Paris by mid-2022, ahead of series production starting by the end of next year.

Credit: Volta Trucks

All-new heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will need to be zero emission by 2040, the UK government has announced at COP26 on Transport Day (November 10, 2021).

In a statement from the Department for Transport conveyed by Transport Minister Grant Shapps, the government will phase out non-zero emission HGVs below 26 tons by 2035, with all new HGVs sold in the UK to be zero emission from 2040, making it a world first for the UK.

It places fleets operating in the UK at the forefront of the electric revolution, with new petrol and diesel passenger cars and light commercial vehicles banned from 2030, with a requirement to be zero emission by 2035.

Commenting on the announcement, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) chief executive, Gerry Keaney, said:

“Today’s announcement is a welcome update and will support the industry in its drive towards decarbonization. BVRLA members are already leading the way in making positive changes and it’s vital that regulations acknowledge the different challenges experienced from one vehicle type to another.

“Use cases of HGVs vary significantly, so we welcome the government’s intention to consult on derogations that will enable a fair and achievable transition. The BVRLA looks forward to working with the government on the delivery plan that will be essential in ensuring the UK road transport network can be decarbonized successfully.”

Olly Craughan, head of corporate social responsibility at parcel delivery firm DPD in the UK and one of the brands leading the way on the decarbonization of fleets, added:

“We totally support the withdrawal of the selling of new, non-zero emission HGVs in the UK by 2035, as we do the sale of new diesel/petrol final mile fleet vehicles by 2030. We would urge all parties involved in the supply of alternative green HGVs to press the fast forward button on their development plans so businesses like ourselves can make the transition as soon as possible.”

However, Sue Robinson - the chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) Commercial Vehicle Division - was more circumspect. She added: “Whilst we fully support the government’s efforts and continue to work hard alongside our business members to decarbonize transport, we must highlight that greater investments and further clarity will be needed within the HGV sector.

“Meeting the 2035 and 2040 targets will be challenging primarily due to the lack of strategy and direction on what technology will represent a viable alternative to diesel and compressed natural gas for trucks.

“The 2035 cut-off date for trucks below 26 tonnes is concerning as, without a clear plan, it could push buyers onto heavier trucks over 26 tonnes for an additional five years.”

Caption: A prototype full-electric 16-tonne Volta commercial vehicle that will be used for customer evaluation in London and Paris by mid-2022, ahead of series production starting by the end of next year.

Photo credit: Volta Trucks

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