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Zero Emission HGV Infrastructure Requirements (Ricardo Energy and Environment)

The Committee on Climate Change commissioned Ricardo Energy and Environment to carry out research to assess the infrastructure requirements and costs for the deployment of different zero emission heavy goods vehicle (HGV) technology options. The infrastructure considered includes hydrogen refuelling stations, ultra-rapid charge points at strategic locations, electric overhead recharging infrastructure on the roads and hybrid solutions combining these options.

The research concluded:

  • It is feasible to build refuelling infrastructure to support the deployment of zero emission HGVs so that they constitute the vast majority of vehicles on the roads by 2050.
  • Looking at infrastructure alone, deploying hydrogen refuelling stations is the cheapest of the options, costing a total of £1.7bn in capital expenditure in the time period from now until 2060. The strategic deployment of ultra-rapid charge points is the most expensive, at £10.7bn. In all scenarios, a significant number of smaller electric HGVs are deployed as these options are available and operating on the streets today. The cost of installing chargers at depots for these vehicles is included.
  • When the costs of the fuel as well as the infrastructure are included, the costs of deploying electricity or hydrogen HGVs are cheaper compared to the continued use of diesel.
  • Moving to zero-carbon infrastructure for HDVs is a significant challenge and requires planning, co-ordination, supply chains, resource and materials and a skilled workforce as well as strong government policy to enable the market to deliver.

This supported the Net Zero Technical report.

Note: This report has been updated since publication to correct two modelling errors. These errors have now been addressed and the current version is the final and correct version. This means that the total cost of providing HGV infrastructure is now estimated at £7-12bn cumulatively to 2050 across the three options considered, compared with £3-16bn in the original report. Though the changes in infrastructure cost estimates for some options are significant, this does not impact the key recommendations of the Committee’s May 2019 Net Zero report. Estimated infrastructure costs are a relatively small component of the overall societal costs for decarbonising HGVs.

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