UK confirms pledge for zero-emission HGVs by 2040 and unveils new charge point design

HGVs

All new heavy goods vehicles in the UK will be zero-emission by 2040, the UK government has confirmed. This, combined with the UK’s 2030 phase out for petrol and diesel cars and vans, means that the sale of all polluting road vehicles will end within the next two decades. 

The UK will become the first country in the world to commit to phasing out new, non-zero emission HGV’s weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035, with all new HGVs sold in the UK to be zero emission by 2040. 

This comes as new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows the progress made in the passenger vehicle market. 31 per cent of the market is now covered by vehicle manufacturer commitments to end sales of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, up from a near zero share of the market at the start of 2021. 

Global sales of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) have grown dramatically since 2019 from 2.1 million to 5.3 million. ZEVs are forecast to be 70 per cent of all new car sales in 2040, with this projection having doubled in the last 5 years. 19 per cent of 2020 passenger vehicles sales were in countries that now have an internal combustion engine (ICE) phase-out date, up from five per cent in 2019. 

The UK government has also unveiled a new design for electric vehicle charge points. Showcased in the UK Pavilion at COP26 and designed together with the Royal College of Art and PA Consulting, the concept prioritises inclusivity and ease of use, designed with consumers, local government, accessibility groups and industry. 

The design concept will provide greater choice to industry and local government, as well as raise awareness and generate excitement around electric vehicles. The government said that this new design builds on their goal to make sure everyone benefits from the transition to zero emission transport. ZEVs are already cheaper to run in the UK than petrol or diesel cars and are expected to become cheaper to buy in the coming years. 

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “From our roads to the skies, the transition to zero emission transport has reached a tipping point. We know that transport plays a key role saving the planet from warming above 1.5°C, which is why this is the COP that will kick start our ambition for zero emission aviation and why I’m proud to be uniting world leaders to tackle climate change – creating new opportunities for clean growth, green jobs and improved air quality right across the globe. 

“To support the transition to EVs, it is integral that we have the infrastructure to support it. My vision is for the UK to have one of the best EV infrastructure networks in the world, with excellent British design at its heart.” 

British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) chief executive, Gerry Keaney, said: “Today’s announcement is a welcome update and will support the industry in its drive towards decarbonisation. BVRLA members are already leading the way in making positive changes and it is vital that regulations acknowledge the different challenges experienced from one vehicle type to another. 

“Use cases of HGVs vary significantly, so we welcome the government’s intention to consult on derogations that will enable a fair and achievable transition. The BVRLA looks forward to working with the government on the delivery plan that will be essential in ensuring the UK road transport network can be decarbonised successfully. 

“The approach must be comprehensive, particularly around HGVs where the barriers remain huge. The recent funding that was announced to support trials of zero emission technology for the sector is a very positive step, and we eagerly await the clarity this will bring to help meet the phase-out dates.” 

Olly Craughan, head of corporate social responsibility at DPDgroup UK Ltd said: “We totally support the withdrawal of the selling of new, non-zero emission HGVs in the UK by 2035, as we do the sale of new diesel and petrol final mile fleet vehicles by 2030. We would urge all parties involved in the supply of alternative green HGVs to press the fast forward button on their development plans so businesses like ourselves can make the transition as soon as possible. 

“DPD is one of the brands leading the way on the decarbonisation of fleets but bringing down the cost of green HGVs and creating adequate supply will be essential to the UK hitting this target.” 

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