The Climate Change Committee (CCC) commissioned Element Energy to assess trajectories for the uptake of zero-carbon options for heavy-goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and coaches. The study considered decarbonisation pathways based on three technology options: battery-electric vehicles with ultra-rapid charge points, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with hydrogen refuelling stations and pantograph-electric vehicles with overhead electric wiring. It builds upon a previous study of the infrastructure requirements associated with these technologies, which the CCC commissioned from Ricardo Energy and Environment to support the 2019 Net Zero report.
This research supported the CCC’s analysis for the Sixth Carbon Budget.
2. Key recommendations
- All three technology options could play a role in decarbonising the HGV sector by 2050, although there is currently uncertainty as to which option will be optimal for the UK.
- In a model in which all three infrastructure options are deployed, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are expected to make up a significant portion of the zero-emission sales mix in the 2030s, before being displaced by battery-electric models in the 2040s as battery and charging technologies improve. By 2050, battery-electric vehicles are expected to be cost-optimal across all vehicle categories.
- It is expected to be possible to remove new diesel HGVs from sale by 2040. To achieve this, stronger purchase and other incentives are likely to be needed by 2035 to drive rapid take-up across the sector.
- Large-scale commercial demonstrations of zero-carbon HGV technologies should commence in the early 2020s, in order to collect data on costs, system performance and suitability to different HGV operations.