A holistic and integrated innovation approach is needed for the transition acceleration, addressing the vehicles, the energy, the infrastructure and operations.

Description:

For long haul and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) close to the maximum payload, there is a high risk that competitive solutions are not widely available until the end of the decade, with slow adoption until 2035. This would put in risk to achieve 2030 objectives.

It is critical to act fast and develop easy access to zero emissions vehicles, renewable energy, charging and refuelling infrastructure and a framework for freight companies to test and develop innovative logistics concepts fostering operational innovation in parallel to vehicle technology advances.

Complementary actions to support business cases development to close the gap between technologies capabilities and economically feasible adoption models are needed to accelerate the transition.

A clear roadmap on vehicle technologies and energies is also a must. This is a priority, not because they should come first, but rather because the direction is unclear and big investment mistakes are possible. Industry would rather avoid these mistakes hence uncertainty prevents investments.

Achieving vehicle sales quotas and infrastructure investments will not happen even if requirements are defined in the regulations unless there is enough demand supported by strong business cases.

Recommendations:

  • Address the economical gap to run transport and logistics operations with zero tailpipe emissions solutions compared to conventional vehicles by 2030 is a must.
  • Extend the Innovation Fund [1] or similar instruments to holistic lighthouse projects (beyond the current sectors under Emission Trading Systems, ETS) that can deliver innovations for systemic GHG emission reductions involving the energy, the infrastructure, the vehicles and importantly the operational side and end users of transportation system (e.g. design and implement a “net zero” network today).
  • Support and boost logistics service providers and transport carriers to coordinate adoption of new technologies at scale and address barriers collaboratively [2] through supported lighthouse industry led innovative projects.

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/clima/eu-action/funding-climate-action/innovation-fund_en

[2] An open working group composed/representing all service providers, carriers and operators should be established and the members should be allowed to coordinate their approach to modifying and implementing the new technologies so that no single firm would gain an unfair competitive advantage by failing to adopt the new sustainable technologies.  This will require a re-examination of current competition law and ensuring technology neutrality to facilitate this industry wide coordination.  It will also require strict monitoring so that unintended outcomes can be avoided.