European Truck Manufacturers Ending ICE Production in 2040

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Volvo Trucks

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An alliance of European truck manufacturers have pledged to stop selling vehicles that produce any emissions by 2040 — pushing up its previous target date by a full decade.

The group, which includes Daimler, Scania, Man, Volvo, Daf, Iveco, and Ford, have all signed a pledge to focus on developing hydrogen and battery technologies so that petroleum-derived propulsion can be phased out of the trucking industry.

Up until recently, the world’s relationship with the internal combustion engine has been reminiscent of the scene in every movie where the villain is too busy explaining the plan to effectively execute one. The gasoline motor is strapped to the table while a coalition of corporate executives, environmental activists, and politicians explain their over-complicated plan for eliminating it. In their grandstanding, they failed to realize that double-o-combustion has slipped away and are forced to revise the plan and re-synchronize their watches.

It’s one reason you see such extreme environmental measures receive hard targets that are never met and immediately recycled once the industry is sure everyone’s forgotten. Part of this is our fault, too. We’ve gotten wise to the empty promises the automotive sector seems contractually obligated to make and simply shrug our shoulders whenever we hear corporate commitments.

But now the industry actually sees an opportunity to profit off EVs by digitizing the automobile and leveraging the increased amount of control that brings. Once cars are electric, automakers can more easily control the data they produce, adopt new subscription models for features, and even build their own proprietary charging networks. That, in addition to massive financial investments into firms pushing new technologies, have made electrification look far more appetizing to the industry — especially since the alternative is often a sizable fine for not complying with ever-expanding emission regulations.

Europe’s truck-producing manufacturers are acting under the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and are reportedly working with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to decide which programs should be funded. The industry will spend about €50-100 billion on new technologies, Scania chief executive Henrik Henriksson told the Financial Times ahead of the pledge announcement.

From FT:

The pledge signed by the chief executives of the [semi] truck and van businesses also calls for widespread investment in energy grids and a higher tax on carbon across Europe to help drive the change.

“If we can make this happen, we need to work all together,” said Mr Henriksson, who chairs ACEA’s commercial vehicle board.

The pledge comes as European regulators and governments seek to phase out emissions from road transport.

The EU plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by the end of the decade.

The UK has said it will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars including hybrids by 2035, and will consult on trying to end the use of diesel [trucks].

“[Freight deliveries are] the backbone of any society in the world today, but we have to recognise that they are very dependent on the internal combustion engines to transport all the goods of every industry,” said Professor Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute.

[Image: Volvo Trucks]

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