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One path to a zero-emissions future

Aug. 17, 2022
Zero-emissions trucks will be cheaper to run than diesel by 2033, according to a new report from the Mission Possible Partnership that outlines the economic and regulatory changes that need to happen to get there.

Trucking demand in the United States, China, Europe, and India is expected to more than double by 2050. That's why it's imperative that trucking across the globe takes steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A recent report, Making Zero Emissions Trucking Possible: An Industry-Backed, 1.5°C Aligned Transition Strategy, outlines a transition strategy for how the heavy-duty trucking market can reach zero emissions by 2050.

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Before I go into details of the report, I want to be clear that it is focused on the long term—2050—and does not really focus on what we at NACFE call the messy middle. As a result, it doesn’t talk about things like hybrids, or biofuels, renewable natural gas or renewable diesel. All of those technologies—and more—are part of the messy middle. We need the technologies in the messy middle because today zero-emissions technologies are not going to work for all use cases. The thought is that these other technologies will allow time for zero-emissions solutions to develop and provide a good total cost of ownership in more duty cycles.

The report contends that zero-emissions trucks will be cheaper to run than diesel equivalents and that TCO parity will happen in the next several years and a superior TCO will occur between now and 2033. NACFE has its own parity chart that looks at a number of factors such as cost, maintenance, vehicle life, range, etc., in determining when EVs will achieve parity with diesels.

The report also acknowledged the need for more public charging to help scale zero-emissions vehicles. The good news is that there are several efforts underway by various industry stakeholders to address this issue. In fact, I just read an announcement that said all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have submitted plans for a national electric vehicle charging network. I am confident we will get the charging piece figured out.

Trucking needs to play a significant role in helping us reach our climate goals. This report from Mission Possible Partnership provides one roadmap for getting there. It may not be the only way, but it contains some ideas that are worth considering.

As always, I would be happy to hear from you about how you think we can best decarbonize the trucking industry. Let’s talk.

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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