Industry pushes against UK 2040 ban on new diesel trucks

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Industry pushes against UK 2040 ban on new diesel trucks


The UK car industry is privately pushing against the proposed introduction in 2040 of a ban on the sale of new diesel trucks, amid a division between manufacturers over when heavy trucks should move away from fossil fuels.

In July, the government revealed plans to ban internal combustion engines in new trucks after 2040, following a ban on gasoline and diesel cars after 2035 to help tackle the climate crisis. He now consults on the measure.

The automotive lobby group, the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), publicly declares that the proposed ban is a “bold commitment” that would require financial support from the government. However, he privately told MPs that a ban should be delayed, according to responses to the official consultation.

The answers were obtained through a formal request from InfluenceMap, a think tank that tracks climate lobbying, who shared them with the Guardian.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA), which represents trucking companies, said the ban should be postponed until 2045 for trucks over 32 tonnes. He supported previous bans on small trucks.

Some individual truck makers support banning fossil-fueled internal combustion engines in heavy trucks in 2040 or earlier, according to responses. They include Volvo Trucks and Renault, both owned by Volvo Group, the world’s second largest truck manufacturer, as well as DAF Trucks and Tesla.

Car sales are already moving quickly towards electricity, but heavy goods vehicles are much more difficult to electrify due to the heavy loads they carry long distances, making batteries much less efficient. Trucks were responsible for 19 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2019, 16% of UK emissions from transport, according to government figures.

Ben Youriev, transport analyst at InfluenceMap, said: “Reducing emissions from road transport will be of critical importance for the UK to meet its net zero targets, but the UK auto industry group is pushing for make this task more difficult. The SMMT sides with its more regressive members in opposing a UK heavy truck phase-out date of 2040, despite recommendations from the UK Climate Change Committee.

The response from the SMMT consultation said, “Without clarity on the future viable solutions required for zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles, we do not support setting an end-of-sale date. “

He said the industry is committed to using zero-emission heavy-duty trucks “where the technology options are viable and the business case for the investment allows”, but that “some specific use cases are likely to be more difficult ”.

Tesla’s electric truck was unveiled at a presentation in California in 2017. Photograph: Alexandria Sage / Reuters

Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT, said in a statement: “The SMMT and its members are not opposed to setting an end-of-sale date, but we need plans before the bans. The heavy-duty industry has pledged to stop using fossil fuels by 2040 and in some use cases it will be possible to switch to zero-emission trucks before then – but right now, there is no clear alternative technology available for every heavy truck operation.

Rod McKenzie, director general of policy at the RHA, said more time was needed for larger trucks just because the technology to propel them was not yet available. He said that would mean small delivery companies would face financial risks when purchasing new vehicles.

“It’s not that we are against cleaner air or phasing out diesel trucks,” he said. “The issue has always been the time scale. “

Tesla, the world’s most valued automaker, has been a notable advocate in responding to the ban as soon as possible, arguing for 2035. Controlled by Elon Musk, whose involvement made him the most human. rich in history, Tesla aims to produce the Semi, a battery-powered heavy truck. However, the Semi is still “in development” despite Musk in 2017 saying it would start production in 2019.

This article was amended on November 1, 2021. A reference to truck manufacturers supporting the ban on “internal combustion engines” in heavy goods vehicles in 2040 or earlier, should instead have made specific reference to fossil fuel internal combustion engines. .

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