We all agree we must act now to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, and at Amazon, Daimler Truck, Scania and Volvo, we are committed to doing our part. Amazon is committed to becoming net-zero carbon by 2040 and plans to invest more than €1 billion in the coming years to decarbonise its transportation network, including growing the percentage of electric trucks moving Amazon goods, and Daimler Truck, Scania and Volvo are investing heavily to provide customers with zero-emission alternatives.
Transportation accounts for approximately one quarter of global greenhouse gases, of which heavy trucks account for nine percent, and the European Union has the power—and responsibility—to set the stage for significant emission cuts across the sector through its upcoming Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR).
Many of us are lucky to be returning from summer holidays. How many long-haul trucks did you see? And how many of those were electric or hydrogen fuelled? How many service stations had facilities to charge them? Unfortunately, for now, the answer is none in most countries.
If Europe is truly committed to decarbonising road transport, this must change.
AFIR will set the course for vehicle charging infrastructure for the next decade, yet some Member States are calling for delays and overly-conservative targets. We cannot hesitate. Climate change is here, and we must act now. Amazon, Daimler Truck, Scania and Volvo—in common with industry groups across the transportation and logistics sectors—urge Parliamentarians to stand up for what’s needed to turn the tide on climate change and the future of European road transports: needle-moving targets for Europe-wide zero-emission long-haul truck charging infrastructure.
Manufacturing of electric long-haul trucks is in the early days, but the marketing of battery electric vehicles is scaling this year and hydrogen is coming in the second half of this decade. The vehicles will therefore not be the bottleneck in this transformation. Amazon has launched its first electric 37-ton trucks in the UK, and will add more in the EU by year end. This is in addition to the more than 3,000 electric delivery vans that last year delivered more than 100 million packages to customers’ doorsteps across Europe. We are eager to put hundreds of electric trucks on the road but our ambitions are curbed by the lack of infrastructure. For hydrogen, which will play an important role as well, there is even less infrastructure - let alone sufficient green hydrogen available.
While Amazon is installing best-in-class chargers for electric trucks at its UK facilities, without infrastructure to charge the trucks en route along major highways, the trucks must return to Amazon’s facilities to charge. Today, it is impossible to drive an electric truck from Berlin to Bologna because the appropriate fast charger infrastructure does not exist anywhere along European roads.
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), there are more than 6.2 million medium and heavy trucks on European roads. The proposal for 350kW chargers is today’s standard, and we must set the path for fast deployment of megawatt chargers. We call on Parliament to stand firm on high ambitions for rolling out charging infrastructure for heavy-duty vehicles along European roads. This is in order to ensure an early start of the transition well before 2025, and that more powerful fast chargers are deployed as soon as they become available. This enables companies to confidently introduce electric trucks for longer-distance transportation, and helps close the gap between fossil fuels and zero-emission alternatives.
No one company can decarbonise its fleet alone. Public and private sectors must work together to radically accelerate the electrical grid and deploy electric charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure along transportation corridors; but only Council and Parliament have the power, through AFIR, to create the framework necessary to make this reality.
European policymakers have the opportunity to shape our collective ability to decarbonise this crucial and hard-to-abate sector. We applaud the increase in ambition that Parliament’s draft report brings to enabling zero-emission heavy-duty transport, and urge Parliament and EU Member States to uphold this ambition in the coming weeks and months. Anything less ambitious would be a heavy foot on the brakes to zero-emission logistics and Europe’s Green Deal.
Left to right: Andreas Marschner, Amazon Transportation; Karin Rådström, Mercedes-Benz Trucks; Fredrik Allard, Scania; Jessica Sandström, Volvo Trucks