For the past year, the main debate across the sector has been around decarbonisation and end of sale dates. While an enormous issue, the technical and regulatory discussion seemed at first to be relatively straightforward – but it is rapidly becoming more complex.
Government, taking a leaf from the light vehicle world, is now talking about the potential for zero emission mandates, where a fixed percentage of vehicles registered every year are zero emission. Adding to this, we still have Euro VII on the horizon. It’s difficult to know at this stage what it will finally look like, but the scope of emissions under regulation will increase, along with a more consistent testing regime across engine types and potentially a requirement for lifetime compliance. The implementation date also remains uncertain.
More recently, the use of hydrogen in combustion engines has been discussed. This fuel is zero carbon, but does produce some tailpipe emissions which can be reduced with aftertreatments to levels below those of Euro VI diesels. Some manufacturers are investing heavily in this technology, and can provide a solution for some heavy duty applications in significantly reducing emissions sooner than a transition to full battery electric. Either way, the industry is committed to delivering decarbonised transport.