Monday, November 29, 2021

GOOD NEWS IN TRANSPORT 4 - DECARBONISING ROAD FREIGHT

 

One of Coca Cola's new Hybrid Electric Trucks - expect to see more of them soon

This Photo by Richard Erikkson  is licensed under CC BY

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Road Freight represents only 1% of the world’s road traffic but it accounts for around 40% of transport emissions. In addition to Carbon Dioxide they include other greenhouse gases such as nitrogen oxides which are not only largely responsible for smog, but also have very detrimental health effects. It has been estimated that if road freight were a country, it would be the 4th largest emitter. Even worse, that figure is likely to increase by 300% by 2050 if nothing is done over the next ten years to bring those totals down. Because of the high cost and slow turnover of such vehicles the time to prepare for change is now if decarbonisation is to take place before 2050 at the latest.

Until recently electrification of long -distance trucking was considered too difficult because of the high cost of batteries, the lack of charging stations and the fact that it took many hours to recharge a heavy vehicle. However due to technological advances, the cost of batteries has fallen by 85% and they have become much more efficient. It is now already 12% cheaper to own and operate an electric truck but if present progress continues it is expected that by 2025 large trucks will be able to travel 400 Km on a single charge and be able to recharge fully in the 45 minutes it takes for the driver to have a break. This will happen even faster as many groups seek to meet commitments made under the Paris Agreement and under the recent Memorandum of Understanding to promote electrification of buses and heavy vehicles (see previous post).

 Drivers of change

In addition all kinds of coalitions involving businesses, governments, cities, financial and research institutions, manufacturers, utility  providers and non – profit organisations are forming to facilitate the process. This makes good business sense. Why should everyone reinvent the wheel when through shared research and knowledge much time and money can be saved? There is also the advantage of economies of scale and the creation of uniform standards which is especially important when considering say, the need for charging stations to be compatible across international boundaries or lobbying governments to have consistent regulations and policies. It also drives innovation and provides greater certainty for those investing in long – lived and high cost assets such as long-distance trucks.

Just a few of these organisations are listed below and many more are listed under The Climate Group’s Route Zero  page.  The Climate Group is a non -profit organisation with headquarters in London, Delhi and New York. 

 

Its Route Zero program aims to have -

  •     100 % zero emission buses by 2030.
  •     100% zero emission cars by 2035
  •     100% zero emission heavy goods vehicles by 2040

It now includes 500 multinational businesses, 260 national and sub -national governments representing 1.75 billion people and 50% of the global economy. See more on their website

1.       Road Freight Zero is part of the World Economic Forum’s Centre for Nature and Climate Platform and brings together industry leaders, financial institutions and vehicle manufactures to work out plans and pathways to effective action under its mission possible program

It in turn works with other groups such as the European Clean Trucking Alliance consisting of logistics and supply chain management companies, trucking companies, civil society organisations and retailers. There are 6.6 million trucks on European roads and 76.7% of goods go by truck. In 2019 there were 64% more battery Electric (BEV) trucks on the road than there were in 2019.

Between them, these companies own  380,000 vehicles, have an annual income of €400,000 and have 2.3 million employees. 

 Looks like I have to take back what I said last time about companies not doing much too. Many are. Nor are they doing it just to improve their reputation or because they care about the planet. It is also good for their bottom line and enables them to identify new business opportunities.

 


2.       EV 100 is an alliance of 120 companies with a combined fleet of 5.4 million vehicles which have committed to switching to electric vehicles by 2030. Some of the larger ones include companies such as Ikea, H & M, Air New Zealand, Baidu and HP, South Korea’s largest fleet, SK Networks with 200,000 vehicles and Siemens with 50,000 vehicles to name just a few. Collectively they are also committing to installing 9,400 charging stations. Good to see some Australian companies such as Origin Energy, AGL and Australia Post among them as well. [At 19%, Transport is the second highest source of emissions in Australia after power generation]. 

EV100 + is a subcategory for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes.

3.       RE100 is a high-level corporate alliance of the Climate Group and has 300+ members in highly influential companies from Nike to Microsoft, Biotech companies, Banks and Insurers, UBS and even the City of London who are committed to 100% renewable energy  

4.   The Mission Possible Partnership brings together CEOS, financial institutions, suppliers and customers to facilitate the transition in some of the most intensive carbon emitting industries. With respect to transport and freight it aims to : -

  •  Accelerate the viability and deployment of zero-emissions long-haul fleets by 2030 
  •  Identify the finance pain points and solutions required
  • Ensure corporate commitments towards net zero—and steps for reaching these commitments—are clear and ambitious

5.     Transport and Environment is a European non -profit organisation established over 30 years ago to promote zero emission transport across all sectors – trucking, rail, shipping and aviation. 

It incorporates 26 environmental groups in 22 European countries plus Russia and the Ukraine

 

6.      The Transport Decarbonisation Alliance brings together countries, regions, cities and companies  to bring about sustainable and low emission mobility.  As well as promoting other forms of transport, its global membership is concerned with charging infrastructure, educating executives, advocacy, making a public commitment and working actively to bring about change. 

 

7.       Dealing only with freight movement but on land and sea,  the Smart Freight Centre (non – profit) which started life in 2013, is made up of 40+ organisations and 25 companies – mostly logistics companies, supply chain managers and retailers and operates in Europe, Asia, The Americas, South Africa and Australia. It aims to have 100 multinational companies reduce their transport emissions by 30% by 2030 and be net zero by 2050, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by 80 million tonnes by 2030.

It helps companies to create their own road maps for getting there, trains key personnel and encourages buyers of freight services to make zero emission freight part of their procurement practices. 

 8.       The International Transport Forum is an OECD intergovernmental think tank which brings together policy makers from its 63 member countries. It concerns itself with all forms of transport but also with matters such as gender inclusion and equity. Once a year it brings together all Transport Ministers from member states for a high level forum. Their policy papers make interesting reading if you have time to read 93 pages or so. The one on Road Freight Decarbonisation for example, mentions a number of easy low risk strategies to immediately reduce emissions -including better data - driven logistics, improving the efficiency of motors, switching fuels and eco - training for drivers.

 9.    The Global New Mobility Coalition (GNMC), under the auspices of the World Economic Forum, brings together over 200 globally renowned experts, NGOs and companies to accelerate the shift to Shared, Electric and Autonomous Mobility (SEAM). It seeks a 95% reduction in emissions by 2050. Its participants include China's EV100, energy companies, universities in Israel and California, Uber and major vehicle manufacturers such as Ford and BMW.

    10. The ZEV Community helps all levels of Government to decarbonise their transport sectors. 

 

 

This list is not exhaustive, nor mutually exclusive. In fact it is precisely the networks and synergies within and between groups which are driving change, leading to rapid adoption of low emission transport and creating the critical mass for low costs and ease of transition. Nor is it possible to list all their achievements. I have been down that rabbit hole all week – each link has subsidiaries and additional affiliations – I’ve had several attempts at making a very complicated flowchart, so feel free to follow up those of interest. Suffice to say that if all follow through on their commitments, the world should soon become not only much cleaner, but a lot quieter.

Next: Trains, Ships and Planes - with occasional side tracks