Transport Minister, Trudy Harrison has revealed that over £200 million of government funding will be injected into an extensive zero emission road freight demonstrator programme. Quadrant Transport investigates how this funding will benefit the UK roads.
The three-year comparative programme will begin later this year. It will help decarbonise the UK’s freight industry with initial competition for battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology launching shortly.
Outlined in the UK Department for Transport and Office for Zero Emission Vehicles’ Transitioning to zero emission car and vans: 2035 delivery plan document, the transition to zero emission vehicles is key to ensuring we achieve our decarbonisation ambitions. By 2035, the aim is that all new cars and vans have to be completely zero emission at the tailpipe.
The UK Will Benefit From Zero Emission HGVs
Hundreds more zero emission HGVs could be rolled out across the nation and save the industry money because green vehicles’ overall running costs are cheaper than petrol and diesel equivalents.
More efficient deliveries will, in turn, enable haulage companies to keep the price of the goods down and protect customers from rising costs.
Benefits of the transition to zero emission trucks include improving air quality, creating greener jobs and delivering on COP26 pledges while reducing reliance on foreign oil imports. Improving the UK’s energy supply resilience and eliminating fossil fuels from road freight will help to protect drivers and businesses from the increasing global energy prices.
The demonstrations will gather evidence on the future of refuelling and the recharging infrastructure needed to drive the smooth transition to a zero emission freight sector by 2050.
In addition to this, the demonstrations will help the UK’s freight sector reduce its reliance on fossil fuels by finding which zero emissions technologies are best suited to the heaviest road vehicles in the UK.
It Is Essential To Reach Our Net Zero Goals
Transport Minister, Trudy Harrison, said: “Our road freight industry is one of the most efficient in the world and contributes over £13 billion to the UK economy each year.
But we must accelerate our journey towards our net zero goals, and we’re committed to leading the way globally on non-zero emission road vehicles.
“Our ambitious plans will continue to ensure food is stocked on the shelves and goods are supplied while eliminating fossil fuels from HGVs and making our freight sector green for good.”
An open-call competition will be launched for manufacturers, energy providers and infrastructure operators to showcase their green technology on UK roads. It will begin with the demonstrations of battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell HGVs.
Clarity Is Needed On The Path To Zero Tailpipe Emission HGVs
The announcement expands the Department for Transport’s (DfT) successful £20 million zero emission road freight trials, which ran last year, delivered by Innovate UK.
As part of these trials, commercial vehicle manufacturer Leyland Trucks rolled out 20 DAF battery electric HGVs for use by public sector organisations, including the NHS and local authorities, to support the uptake of battery electric trucks, enabling learning to be gathered from field testing vehicles in a real-world, real-time logistics environment.
Acting Deputy Director, Public Policy, Logistics UK, Michelle Gardner, said: “Logistics businesses are committed to decarbonising their operations. To ensure a smooth transition, they need clarity on the path to zero tailpipe emission HGVs. Today’s trials will play a crucial role in identifying the right technological solutions to help enable this.
Given the breadth of the vehicles used across the logistics sector and scale of innovation required to reach net zero Logistics UK is also pleased that government has launched a consultation to identify potential exemptions to the 2035 phase out date.
These announcements and investments show how essential it is to eliminate carbon emissions. Still, they show how important it is to support economic growth, improve air quality, and make UK towns and cities healthier places to live.