A timely roll-out of alternative fuels infrastructure is a basic requirement for a large-scale shift to zero-emission vehicles, but Member States show no sign of supporting this ambition.
Earlier this month, the EU Commission released its long-awaited proposal on CO₂ standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The targets are ambitious: 100% target for the sale of zero-emission buses by 2030 and 90% target for zero-emission trucks and coaches by 2040.
Zero-emission vehicles require a dense network of charging and refuelling stations. The European Commission has proposed to EU legislators a regulation which will oblige Member States to set up a minimal alternative fuels infrastructure network across the EU.
The European Commission has made an ambitious proposal, which the European Parliament took even further. However, the Council’s position has shown little commitment to deploying the massive investment needed to build the necessary infrastructure.
The two positions are at odds. A deal does not appear to be within reach soon enough. This increases transport operators and vehicle manufacturers’ concerns over the rapid pace of decarbonisation envisioned for the road transport sector.
IRU and ACEA, representing commercial road transport operators and vehicle manufacturers, have called upon EU policymakers involved in the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) trilogue negotiations to ensure that the necessary charging and refuelling infrastructure is in place in time to enable the sector’s transition to climate neutrality.
IRU EU Advocacy Director Raluca Marian said, “The revision of EU rules for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure was announced in July 2021.
“As we are nearing next year’s EU elections, sufficient time has passed for EU policymakers to set the right framework to enable commercial road transport operators to shift to alternatively fuelled vehicles.”
“Despite this, we see few signs of a quick deal happening between legislators any time soon, and even less so of a deal at the required level of ambition,” she added. “While we are hopeful in MEP Ismail Ertug’s power to push for a pragmatic position, our letter is meant as a wake-up call to all negotiators to make the greening of transport a reality.”