SMMT calls for HGV transition strategy

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18th April 2023

The heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sector is calling for an urgent, government-led strategy to drive uptake of zero emission trucks to meet decarbonisation targets.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed that Britain’s strategic road network does not have a single HGV-dedicated electric charging or hydrogen filling point. This lack of infrastructure makes it impossible for operators to contemplate investments to decarbonise their fleets.

From 2035, all new HGVs weighing under 26 tonnes sold in the UK must be zero emission. The remaining heavier vehicles must be completely decarbonised five years later.

The SMMT also says the expansion of infrastructure must be matched to wider support for the sector, with just eight of the 20 zero emission truck models on the market eligible for the Plug-in Truck Grant and other countries, including France and Finland, providing up to triple the sum available to UK operators.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “With just over a decade until the UK begins to phase out new diesel trucks, we cannot afford to delay a strategy that will deliver the world’s first decarbonised HGV sector. Manufacturers are investing billions in electric and hydrogen vehicles that will deliver massive CO2 savings, and it is vital that operators making long-term decisions today have full confidence in these technologies, that they will be commercially viable and allow them to keep costs down for consumers. A successful transition requires a long-term plan to drive the rollout of a dedicated UK-wide HGV charging and fuelling network, combined with world-leading incentives to encourage uptake and attract model allocation – a plan that will keep a greener Britain on the move and globally competitive.”

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