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European truck-makers pledge to phase out internal combustion vehicles by 2040

Several of Europe’s largest truck manufacturers have promised to stop selling ICE vehicles by 2040. The chief executives of Daimler, Scania, MAN, Volvo, DAF, IVECO and Ford have signed a pledge to phase out combustion engines and focus on hydrogen, battery technology and “clean fuels.”

The industry will invest some 50 to 100 billion euros in new technologies, Scania Chief Executive Henrik Henriksson told the Financial Times.

The truck-makers, together with the trade association ACEA, are working with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to consider the best technologies and approaches. “If we can make this happen, we need to work all together,” said Mr. Henriksson, who chairs ACEA’s Commercial Vehicle Board.

Professor Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute, told FT that freight delivery will be a difficult industry to decarbonize. “It’s the backbone of any society in the world today, but we have to recognize that they are very dependent on the internal combustion engine to transport all the goods of every industry.”

The industry leaders seem to believe that different use scenarios will require different propulsion technologies: battery-electric for inner-city delivery vans, hydrogen for long-distance haulage, and biofuels for short-term reduction of emissions.

“There is no silver bullet,” said Henriksson. “It won’t be that one technology will rule everything, there will be parallel technologies over time. They will come [at] different paces, but if we sit and wait for the perfect technology to emerge, we will burn the planet.”

The pledge calls for major investment in energy grids and a higher tax on carbon across Europe.

“The basic grid needs to be concentrated so that we can charge at depots and at highways,” said Mr. Henriksson. “That is not a big investment, but that needs to happen.”

Arguing for a higher EU carbon tax, Henriksson said, “If politicians continue to subsidize fossil fuels, it will be very difficult for us, we need to change behavior of our customers, and of our customers’ customers.”

Source: Financial Times

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