Europe leads the way as the international road transport industry transforms towards more sustainable logistics

The international road transport industry is undergoing a transformation towards more sustainable logistics as sales of battery electric heavy trucks are starting to pick up, with Europe in the lead. An increasing number of all-electric heavy trucks are now running in commercial traffic.

Statistics from the market analysis group IHS Markit show that during 2021 a total of 346 electric trucks (≥16 tonnes) were registered in Europe. This is an increase of 193 percent from 2020.

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Volvo Trucks has the largest market share at 42 percent. The countries in Europe with the most electric trucks registered (≥16 tonnes) are Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Roger Alm, Volvo Trucks president, said: “We are determined to drive the electric truck revolution and our market leading position in Europe is proof that we are doing just that.

“Even if volumes are still low, we see rapidly growing interest, both in Europe, North America and in other parts of the world. It’s quickly becoming a key competitive advantage for our customers to be able to offer electric, zero emission trucks.”

While the figures from IHS Markit do not include the UK, Christian Coolsaet, Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland managing director, estimates the UK would likely rank no higher than eighth in the table, despite being one of the largest commercial vehicle markets in Western Europe.

Christian Coolsaet, Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland managing director, said: “When you look at the incentives offered in other European markets, it’s clear that the UK Government needs a more robust strategy to drive the change to e-mobility for HGVs.

“Other countries have put far more on the table to support operators in making the switch, such as Norway, where one measure they have adopted includes the state-owned enterprise Enova funding electric vehicles with up to 50  percent of the additional investments compared to a diesel truck.

“We also need to see immediate investment in a nationwide charging infrastructure to support electric HGVs. It’s not product availability that will delay our ability to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions within this sector, it’s the lack of electrical infrastructure. Building a renewal energy charging network is vital if we are to hit our net zero goals.”

Last year Volvo Group announced a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz Trucks and the Traton Group to set up a company that will roll out charging points for HGVs across Europe, and the first sites to get these charging points will be motorways.

Coolsaet added: “As manufacturers we are demonstrating our commitment to emobility but a collaborative approach with Government is crucial if we are to meet our global climate objectives.”

Volvo Trucks began serial production of electric trucks in 2019, as one of the very first truck brands in the world to do so. Today, Volvo offers the most complete electric truck lineup in the global truck industry and has delivered electric vehicles to a wide range of customers in Europe, North America and Australia. The company’s target is that half of its total truck sales will be electric by 2030.

Alm adds: “Clearly, these numbers show that we’re off to a very good start in sales. With our broad electric truck line up, it’s now possible to electrify a large part of the heavy road transport sector already today.

“This proportion will grow even larger as the distance that electric trucks can drive increases and the charging infrastructure for heavy trucks becomes further developed.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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