Scania is one of the manufacturers that has pledged to support the 15-country zero-emissions...

Scania is one of the manufacturers that has pledged to support the 15-country zero-emissions agreement.

Photo: Scania

Fifteen countries have agreed to work together toward 100% zero-emission new truck and bus sales by 2040.

During the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties conference in Glasgow this week, Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Wales signed a Global Memorandum of Understanding for Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles.

The agreement set an interim goal of 30% zero-emission new vehicle sales by 2030.

Although the U.S. is not one of the initial signatories, organizers say California’s previous actions and ambitious goals have been breaking new ground in zero-emission transport. It cited California’s Advanced Clean Truck rule that establishes firm sales targets for zero-emission trucks as a basis of the MOU ambition.

In addition, manufacturers and fleets, such as Scania, DHL, and Heineken, endorsed the MOU and agreed to work toward the same 2030 and 2040 goals.

Participants in this coordinated global effort agree that zero-emission trucks and buses are essential to reducing transport emissions, mitigating climate change, improving air quality, reducing the use of fossil fuels and energy costs, according to an announcement from Calstart.

Calstart’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program and campaign and the government of the Netherlands are the organizing bodies of the new MOU plus the endorsement. Together, the collective action is called the Global Agreement on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses.

Part of Larger Global ZEV Goals

The effort was a headline announcement at COP26’s Transport Day in Glasgow Nov. 10.

In parallel, host nation the United Kingdom, with the support of the Climate Group, announced the COP26 declaration on zero-emission cars and vans, which brings together national governments, states, regions, cities, vehicle manufacturers, businesses, investors and civil society to work toward 100% zero-emission car and van sales by 2035 in leading markets, and no later than 2040 globally.

Via these coordinated agreements for road transport, cars, vans, trucks, and buses are all on a pathway to 100% zero-emissions and in line to meet the goals of the Paris agreement and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a news release from Calstart.

“For the first time we have a unified target, supported by leading governments and industry, for when new trucks and buses should fully transition to zero-emission technologies,” said Cristiano Façanha, Calstart’s global director. “Globally, freight trucks and buses represent about 4% of the on-road fleet globally but are responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions, and over 70% of nitrogen oxide emissions that contribute to local air pollution. This makes trucks and buses a very effective target for fast decarbonization.”

The transition to 100% zero-emission technologies for trucks and buses will require massive investments in battery and electric component manufacturing and charging infrastructure as well as cross-collaboration between countries and the public and private sector, Calstart noted.

Active discussions are being held with other countries that have not yet signed on.

“We have been coordinating with many additional countries about joining the MOU, and we hope to announce additional countries in the coming year,” said Façanha. “In addition, the MOU includes a robust implementation process to ensure progress and support participating countries. Governments will meet annually to discuss progress, share plans on how they intend to meet the goals of the MOU, share data, and collaborate.”

Organizers said the goals of the agreement “are grounded in real-world data on model availability and technology readiness.”

“Historically seen as a challenging segment to electrify, there are currently more than 570 models of zero-emission trucks and buses on the market supporting a diversity of transport needs,” said the announcement. “In addition, a recent analysis evaluates how manufacturers need to ramp up production of zero-emission vehicles to meet the ambition of the MOU.”

Fleet ZEV Goals

Fleet owners and operators endorsing the agreement pledged to work toward 100% of their medium- and heavy-duty fleets being ZEVs by 2040, “recognizing that we strive for an earlier transition of the lighter MHDV segments.”

DHL is one of the fleets endorsing the MOU.

“DHL has been an early mover in the area of fleet electrification and we see this as a key factor in achieving our longer-term net zero emission aspirations,” said Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express USA. “We believe that collaboration between the private and public sectors will play an important role in accelerating the development of electric vehicles for long-haul and heavier-duty road transportation. The MOU signed by national governments this week represents a highly significant statement of intent in this area and will provide added impetus for companies in our industry to integrate more electric MHDVs into our fleets.”

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