Diesel trucks to be banned in the UK from 2040

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Words: Matthew Hansen
14 Jul 2021

The UK, widely known as one of the first to announce a deadline for the phase out of internal combustion engine cars, is set to go one step further and confirm plans for a similar ban on diesel trucks and commercials.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce the next round of changes in the UK’s transport decarbonisation plan on Wednesday (Thursday New Zealand time), according to the Financial Times.

According to reports, the plan will be announced at the same time as the European Union confirms its own plans to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 — a move that France and Germany don’t seem particularly keen to go through with.

The proposal for banning diesel trucks is understood to still require sign-off by other ministers. According to leaked information, one of the paper’s proposals is that the sale of small diesel trucks be banned by 2035, and the sale of larger diesel trucks weighing over 26 tonnes will be banned from 2040.

As it stands the UK is already poised to ban pure ICE vehicles in 2030, and hybrids by 2035. Many European-based manufacturers have re-jigged their line-ups and, in some cases, confirmed plans to go fully electric at the end of the decade as a result of the actions of the UK, other nations, and Europe’s regulatory bodies.

The Financial Times also reports that Brussels is lobbying for an increase in taxes on the sale of “polluting fuels” like petrol, as a further means of encouraging people to swap their traditional ICE vehicles for electric.

The trucking sector differs slightly from the passenger vehicle sector in that it’s fielding a significant number of hydrogen development and electric development from truck manufacturers. Hyundai recently reported more successes with its hydrogen fuel cell Xcient trucks — its fleet in Switzerland having covered 1,000,000 miles successfully over an 11-month period.

“Swiss transport and logistics companies are convinced that hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicles have the greatest potential among various alternative energy vehicles,” Jörg Ackermann, Chairman of the H2 Mobility Switzerland Association, said earlier this month.

“The biggest advantage of hydrogen energy is its excellent storability. This suggests that hydrogen will play an important role in the era of eco-friendly energy. Many distribution companies are already experiencing the benefits directly by using the Xcient fuel cell trucks."

As reported previously, it’s been widely tipped that the EU will be confirming plans to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 later this week. It also wants a 65 per cent emissions reduction between 2021 and 2030.

According to an overnight Automotive News report, France and Germany are hesitant to support the move, with officials from both countries saying that they would like a longer phase-out period for plug-in hybrid vehicles in particular.

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