Lorry manufacturers criticise lack of infrastructure for greener vehicles

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Most logistics companies cannot consider decarbonising their lorries because of a lack of infrastructure, a body representing manufacturers claimed.

New analysis by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows there is not a single dedicated electric charging or hydrogen refuelling site for HGVs on Britain’s major roads.

It stated: “This lack of infrastructure makes it impossible for the vast majority of operators to contemplate investments to decarbonise their fleets, putting critical CO2 emission savings of up to 21.1 million tonnes a year at risk.”

The potential for vehicles to run out of electricity or hydrogen before completing a journey is a “key concern” for the logistics sector, the SMMT said.

The SMMT warned this is the same timescale for cars and vans despite the electric lorry market being “two decades behind that of passenger cars”.

It is calling on the Government to devise a strategy within the next 12 months that “focuses on the specific requirements of HGVs to enable operators to plan and invest” in switching from diesel.

This should include better purchase incentives for switching to greener vehicles, and a plan to support and co-ordinate the installation of public and depot-based charging and refuelling “in the right locations across all regions”, according to the body.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “With just over a decade until the UK begins to phase out new diesel trucks, we cannot afford to delay a strategy that will deliver the world’s first decarbonised HGV sector.

“Manufacturers are investing billions in electric and hydrogen vehicles that will deliver massive CO2 savings, and it is vital that operators making long-term decisions today have full confidence in these technologies, that they will be commercially viable and allow them to keep costs down for consumers.

“A successful transition requires a long-term plan to drive the rollout of a dedicated UK-wide HGV charging and fuelling network, combined with world-leading incentives to encourage uptake and attract model allocation – a plan that will keep a greener Britain on the move and globally competitive.”

A DfT spokesperson said: “We are committed to decarbonising our freight sector while supporting jobs and economic growth.

“We are working closely with industry to support the rollout of zero emission HGVs on our roads, and we will be investing in projects to support that following our successful £20 million pilot.”

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