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Does it make sense to replace all trucks with electric ones? Automotive industry vs


According to the Association of Distributors and Manufacturers of Automobile Parts (SDCM) of Poland, it is too early to talk about the complete transition of freight transport to cars with electric engines, and it is worth considering other, alternative types of fuel. Together with scientists, representatives of the automobile industry signed the corresponding letter.

In mid-February, the European Commission should announce new standards that will reduce the CO₂ emission limits for heavy trucks. So, in 2019, for this category of vehicles, they decided to reduce these indicators by 15% by 2025 and by 20% by 2030. There is currently a debate on how to determine the date after which the production of commercial vehicles with internal combustion engines will be banned in the European Union altogether. However, according to experts, it is too early to talk about the complete abandonment of diesel fuel, because it is possible to achieve a reduction in emissions in other ways.

Automotive industry and scientists vs

Recently, more than 100 EU industry organizations representing manufacturers of car parts and vehicles, car dealers, fuel suppliers, logistics companies, service stations, together with 93 scientists signed a joint statement calling for the recognition of the decarbonisation potential of sustainable and renewable fuels. Simply put, they insist that not only the electrification of transport, but also the use of alternative fuels should be considered.

The signatories look forward to the European Commissionʼs proposals for revising regulations on truck CO₂ emissions. As they point out, such transport is of key importance for the functioning of the internal market, and the relevant legal framework should support the development of environmentally friendly vehicles using different technologies and types of fuel.

According to them, the decarbonization of the heavy sector is a powerful challenge, so it is necessary to consider all options that can give a quick effect. In their opinion, sustainable and renewable fuel in the field of truck transport can accelerate the process of reducing harmful emissions, contribute to the achievement of the goal of " Fit for 55» and even complete decarbonization of road transport in the future.

The signatories of the letter believe that it is imperative to identify all opportunities to reduce CO₂ emissions throughout the value chain. Transporters and vehicle manufacturers should be encouraged to use the cleaner alternative fuels available today, including liquid, gaseous renewable and synthetic fuels, instead of traditional fossil fuels. Depending on the situation, it is worth applying technological diversity. All technologies will be useful, including electrification, hybridization, hydrogen, sustainable and renewable fuels.

There are alternative ways to reduce emissions

According to the Association, although the charging infrastructure for electric cars in some EU countries is sufficient for passenger electric cars, in the eastern part of Europe there will definitely be problems with charging electric trucks. Intercity transportation is the most difficult segment of road transport, and the range of an electric truck compared to a diesel one is still insufficient. Therefore, it is not appropriate to talk about a quick transition to electric freight transport at the moment, and in the long term, internal combustion engines running on non-fossil fuels can play an important role in reducing harmful emissions.

Thus, experts assure, there is currently no need to set a date for a complete ban on the production of heavy commercial vehicles with internal combustion engines, and there is also no need to set a goal of reducing emissions by 100%. In addition, the established interim targets should be reviewed to assess what other technologies can be used to produce zero-emission freight transport.

" An effective way of decarbonization requires the creation of an appropriate legislative framework, huge investments in infrastructure, a support system for carriers, etc. Business justification for such a transformation of the sphere will be more effective than unrealistic goals or prohibitions. Taking into account the challenges that await the automotive industry or the European economy, flexibility and a wide range of technological solutions are required. This is required not only by the competitiveness of the European economy, but also by heavy transport, which is the lifeblood of the economy of each member state ," says Tomasz Benben, managing director of the Association of Distributors and Manufacturers of Automotive Parts in Poland.

It is interesting that every third truck in the EU is registered in Poland, and freight transportation generates almost 6% of the countryʼs GDP. As the representatives of the Association emphasize, the introduction of a ban on the sale of diesel trucks in the EU will affect not only the automotive industry, the car market, freight transportation, but also related industries — the production and sale of auto parts.

Earlier, the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) expressed its comments on the possible introduction of Euro-7 environmental standards for cars and trucks and buses.

As for Ukraine, as of today, most trucks are bought used —on the domestic market and imported from abroad. Sales of new commercial vehicles are at a low level, primarily due to low purchasing power and the difficult state of the Ukrainian economy, according to the Institute of Car Market Research. In general, sales of new trucks and buses accounted for only 6.4% of the total number of sales of vehicles in this category. In total, only 42 cargo vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tons with an electric engine and 4 electric buses are registered in Ukraine today.

Therefore, even if the EU adopts a full transition to the production of electric trucks, it will not have a global impact on the Ukrainian market, because the fleet will continue to be replenished mainly with used vehicles from abroad. At the same time, by the time our country joins the European Union, other, different from European norms and standards may apply here. So, for example, today we have a "Euro-5" restriction on the import and production of new vehicles, and in the EU — "Euro-6". Therefore, if necessary, the market demand will be met by importing new and used trucks from other countries and regions — for example, China.

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