Challenge 3: Confidence in new technologies and business models among first movers and small operators

World we wish to see:

  • Operators are both aware of the emerging technologies (battery electric and hydrogen) available to them and confident they perform effectively.
  • There is a wide range of zero emission HGVs with appropriate auxiliary equipment available to the Scottish market.
  • A variety of business models for zero emission HGVs is available to suit different haulage operations, models are well understood, make sound commercial sense and can be appraised effectively by decision makers.
  • Small HGV fleet operators can, where appropriate, choose to join larger collaborations which give access to commercial finance and other mutually beneficial outcomes.

Already happening

The UK Government is investing up to £200m in the zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrator programme. Four collaborative projects focused on 40-44 tonne operations will see the deployment of up to 370 zero emission trucks and associated energy infrastructure across the UK.

Trade bodies are building knowledge among members, with dedicated resources available to members and more widely. This includes Logistics UK’s decarbonisation consultancy and environmental campaigns and reports, the Scottish Wholesale Association’s decarbonisation toolkits and case studies and the Road Haulage Association’s Net Zero Forum.

Scotland is one of many governments signed up to the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-emission Medium- and Heavy-duty Vehicles, ensuring that international progress is made on decarbonising commercial vehicles.

Trade publications increasingly include zero emission vehicles and infrastructure and Freight Carbon Zero focuses solely on zero emission HGV news.

EV100 and HGV Zero are coalitions of global fleets committed to decarbonisation. Peers are encouraged to share information and collaborate.

Small fleet operators already participate in demand aggregation through existing models such as purchase frameworks or Special Purchase Vehicles.

Taskforce actions:

  • SMMT will work with trade bodies and Taskforce members to deliver a conference showcasing the technological and financial developments in zero emission HGVs. This will cover myth busting, infrastructure, policy, skills and finance, and will seek to build collaboration.
  • OEMs will implement better sharing of data and learning, ensuring broad learning from formal trials is widely shared with operators and financiers to build confidence. This will include a focus on hydrogen safety.
  • The Taskforce will develop or signpost guidance for operators to build the sector’s understanding and knowledge of zero emission HGVs and their associated energy infrastructure requirements. It will include:
    • Straightforward information for operators seeking to install or access charging/hydrogen fuelling covering both technical and commercial aspects.
    • Information regarding all available and forthcoming zero emission HGVs in the UK, including detail on range and payload
  • Fleet operators will be encouraged to develop decarbonisation strategies and share them to the extent they consider appropriate.
  • Trade bodies including Logistics UK, RHA and BVRLA will support their members to understand and engage with the new technology and business models, recognising the need for knowledge building and trusted sources of information.
  • Scottish Government will bring stakeholders together to assess progress towards HGV decarbonisation and consider a further iteration of the pathway three years after publication.

The manufacturer’s regulated range figures for HGVs are calculated while the vehicles are fully loaded (unlike cars and vans), removing one variable influencing range.

Major manufacturers expect 50% or more of their European truck sales to be zero emission by 2030 including Volvo Group, Scania and Mercedes-Benz.

Case Study

Electric timber truck trials in Scotland

A three-year trial of two heavy duty (40 and 44 tonne) battery electric timber trucks is underway in Scotland, including one vehicle fitted with a specialist Metsatek timber body and Ecco bolsters. Scottish Forestry is working in partnership with Creel MaritimeJames Jones & Sons LimitedScotlog Haulage LtdVolvo Trucks, and Cleaner EV, to explore range, charging times, performance, and total cost of ownership.

Both vehicles are in use and preliminary results are very positive. A key element of the three year trial is that all partners involved are committed to sharing their experiences of running the electric lorries with others in the timber and haulage sectors. Information is being shared on a web portal: Vehicle Updates – Creel Maritime Ltd.