European truck makers end ICE production in 2040

An alliance of European truck manufacturers has pledged to stop selling vehicles producing any emissions by 2040 – pushing back its previous target date by a full decade.

The group, which includes Daimler, Scania, Man, Volvo, Daf, Iveco and Ford, has all signed a pledge to focus on developing hydrogen and battery technologies so that petroleum-derived propulsion can be phased out of the trucking industry.

Until recently, the world’s relationship to the internal combustion engine was reminiscent of the scene in every movie where the villain is too busy explaining the plan to execute one effectively. The gasoline engine is strapped to the table as a coalition of business leaders, environmental activists and politicians explain their overly complicated plan to eliminate it. In their demagoguery, they haven’t realized that the double-combustion has escaped and are forced to revise the plan and resynchronize their watches.

It’s one of the reasons you see such extreme environmental measures being given stringent targets that are never met and immediately recycled once the industry is sure everyone is forgotten. It is also partly our fault. We have become aware of the empty promises the auto industry seems contractually obligated to make and we just shrug our shoulders whenever we hear the companies’ pledges.

But now the industry sees an opportunity to capitalize on electric vehicles by digitizing the automobile and leveraging the increased control that comes with it. Once cars are electric, automakers can more easily control the data they produce, adopt new subscription models for features, and even create their own proprietary charging networks. This, in addition to massive financial investments in companies pushing new technologies, has made electrification much more palatable for the industry – especially since the alternative is often a hefty fine for failure to comply with regulations in constant expansion on emissions.

European truck makers act under the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and would work with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to decide which programs should be funded. The industry will spend around 50-100 billion euros on new technologies, Scania chief executive Henrik Henriksson said. FinancialTimes before the announcement of the engagement.

From FT:

The commitment signed by the general managers of the [semi] truck and van companies are also calling for widespread investment in energy networks and a higher carbon tax across Europe to help drive change.

“If we can get there, we have to all work together,” said Henriksson, who chairs ACEA’s commercial vehicle council.

The pledge comes as European regulators and governments seek to phase out emissions from road transport.

The EU plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by the end of the decade.

The UK has said it will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, including hybrids, by 2035, and will consult on trying to end diesel use. [trucks].

“[Freight deliveries are] the backbone of any society in the world today, but we have to recognize that they are very dependent on internal combustion engines to transport all the goods in every industry,” said Professor Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute.

[Image: Volvo Trucks]