Massive ramp-up of truck LNG refueling infrastructure needed in Europe

April 6, 2020. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has released new data on the number of refueling stations required for zero- and low- emission trucks to meet the 2025 and 2030 CO2 targets.

“Obviously our industry is currently grappling with immediate issues related to the COVID-19 crisis,” stated Henrik Henriksson, Chairman of ACEA’s Commercial Vehicle Board and CEO of Scania. “Despite this, we are keeping the long-term climate objectives in sight. Neither the truck industry nor policy makers can afford to drop the ball on this right now.”

Last year, the EU adopted its first-ever CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles, which will apply in 2025 (-15%) and 2030 (-30%). Henriksson: “These CO2 targets for trucks set extremely challenging milestones on the road towards carbon neutrality. To deliver these steep reductions, we are committed and ready to bring a growing number of zero-emission trucks to the market.”

However, the overwhelming majority of trucks sold in Europe today still run on diesel, as it is the most convenient and cost-efficient energy carrier available to transport operators. For the first time, statistics now reveal the exact composition of the EU market for new trucks by fuel type. These new ACEA numbers show that 97.9% of all medium and heavy trucks sold in 2019 ran on diesel, 0.1% ran on petrol, 1.7% ran on natural gas, 0.2% were electrically-chargeable and 0.1% were hybrid electric.

Henriksson: “The rollout of a dense network of infrastructure for alternatively-powered trucks is one of the key prerequisites for achieving carbon-neutral road freight transport. We urgently need Europe to introduce binding commitments for the deployment of at least 37,000 charging points, 50 hydrogen filling stations and 750 LNG-stations suitable for heavy-duty vehicles already by 2025.”

Heavy-duty vehicles simply cannot use passenger car infrastructure because of their much higher power and energy demand, as well as specific space, parking and access requirements. If Europe is to achieve these minimum levels of deployment, binding truck infrastructure targets for member states must be set now by the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, ACEA urges.

Missing technical standards should also be defined, and the necessary standardization processes must start immediately. Finally, investments in charging and re-fuelling infrastructure will require significant financial and administrative support from the EU and national governments. Transport operators in particular should be incentivized to invest early in private and semi-publicly accessible depot charging stations.

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