30 businesses demand zero-emission truck targets from EU

30 businesses including Nestle and Unilever have signed a letter to the European Commission that calls for legally binding zero-emission truck and van sales targets for 2025 and 2030.

The letter, which you can read here, is addressed to the new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and new EU climate chief Frans Timmermans, and also calls for a dedicated European investment fund to support new charging infrastructure for electric vans and trucks.

The businesses believe that binding sales targets will accelerate the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, make air in cities cleaner, put European vehicle-makers at the forefront of innovation while at the same time making Europe less dependent on oil imports.

The signatories say the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target must be increased to 55% and the bloc should go climate-neutral by 2050.

The letter reads: ‘Actions we are calling for are a win-win for our planet and our economy and need to be introduced without any delay so that the new European Commission can deliver on the promises that it has made and make Europe a leader on climate change and clean transport.

‘We want to be part of the solution and increase our efforts but therefore we also need Europe to set the right policy framework for us to achieve this. One of the most effective ways to tackle greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions from road freight is to shift away from fossil fuels to zero-emission vehicles.

‘This must be done in combination with good management of truck operations, maintenance and modal shift. Studies show that the total cost of ownership for electric vans and medium trucks can already today be lower than diesel and this will certainly be the case by 2025.’

In June, a report from pressure group Transport and Environment (T&E) suggested that EU member states’ plans to cut pollution from their respective transport sectors will mean they will fail to meet EU emissions targets for 2030.

T&E warned that all 28 EU countries will need to implement ‘far more effective’ policies if they truly wish to reduce emissions from the transport sector, Europe’s most emitting sector.

Air Quality News has asked the EU Commission for a response to the letter.