Last reviewed 7 September 2021

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the Government to work with industry to develop a plan that facilitates the transition to zero emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), before it commits to an end-of-sale date for conventionally fuelled trucks.

It has highlighted new analysis which reveals that, due to lack of clear diesel replacement technology, just 0.2% of HGVs on the road are alternatively fuelled – the same proportion as cars in 2007.

In addition, just one in 38 new vans registered in 2021 is pure electric, compared to one in 12 cars.

While all of Europe’s major truck manufacturers have agreed that new HGVs will be fossil fuel-free by 2040, and are investing billions in new powertrains to replace diesel, at present there is no clear technology that can provide full zero emission operations for all weights and uses of HGVs.

The need to support powertrain research and infrastructure development has been underlined by SMMT’s new report, “Fuelling the fleet: Delivering commercial vehicle decarbonisation”.

It points out that established manufacturers have already brought a range of fossil fuel-free HGVs and vans to market, while several new players have also entered the market with dedicated zero-emission commercial vehicle portfolios.

“With new technology comes new opportunities and the UK, as a manufacturer, of vans, trucks and other HGVs must accelerate the transition to fossil fuel free commercial vehicles and their component parts,” the SMMT argues.

To achieve this, it suggests, the Government should develop a roadmap that supports UK manufacturers and the supply chain, creating a strong domestic market and helping companies seize the opportunities that emerge.