HGV Pathway - Zero Emission Truck Taskforce - Vehicles working group - Meeting notes

Areas of discussion

Expanding on the barriers and issues explored by the full Taskforce, the group considered in depth:

  • Lack of awareness/ confidence among operators of both technology performance and developing business models
  • The role that aggregating demand to larger projects could play in the transition
  • Availability of a wide range and appropriate supply of vehicles to the Scottish market
  • Ensuring that the transition is commercially viable for operators

The group agreed that back to base operations can and should move to battery electric vehicles as soon as is feasible for them, recognising that the technology and business models are now maturing for this segment of the market.

Battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell are developing for long distance large HGVs and operators should consider which will best suit their operations.

Key learning

Business models

  • As the Zero Emission HGV market develops, a number of organisations are beginning to offer both energy-as-a-service and battery or truck-as-a-service. These can offer some or all of vehicle leasing, charging design, installation and maintenance, back office, 24/7 monitoring, insurance, driver training and more. Customers are not required to pay anything upfront, they pay a quarterly / monthly fee as a fixed cost or cost per KW used. No financial risk to operators. Cost moves from CapEx to OpEx. Contract length varies but could be from 5 years up.
  • Energy-as-a-service is more common than truck-as-a-service currently, but at least two organisations can offer the latter, one an OEM, one a chargepoint operator funded by Scottish National Investment Bank. At this stage, around 12 trucks (back to base operations) would be a minimum project size for the chargepoint operator.
  • TCO calculations are important but not necessarily paramount when considering the transition to ZE HGVs – companies are sometimes willing to pay more for a ZE service provided by hauliers as they have their own Net Zero targets to hit, and reliability of service is also important.


  • Aggregation of demand may have a small impact on purchase cost but is more useful in ensuring the supply of vehicles to Scotland and in enabling supporting energy infrastructure by creating demand for it.
  • Aggregation can enable commercial investors to play a role, either through new business models (battery as a service, vehicles as a service) or thorough existing models such as purchase frameworks.

Zero Emission Vehicle Availability

  • Battery electric trucks are in mass production. Currently this is primarily at the lighter end of the market but the heaviest vehicles will be available in the next 1-2 years in the UK with some trials now.
  • It is expected that the range will also increase during this time period, one OEM citing up to 600km on a full charge in next 1-2 years.
  • As HGV specifications are tested while fully loaded, the manufacturer’s regulated range figures are more reliable than for cars and vans, which are tested empty (and therefore vans’ real world range decreases with payload but an HGV’s does not).
  • Fleets can trial small HGVs now for periods ranging from 1 week to 3 months and a few have purchased one. The 3 month test rental from one OEM can include portable batteries enabling HGV charging from a 3-phase electricity supply if helpful.
  • The lead time for purchase varies from minimal to around six months.
  • With regards to Hydrogen vehicles there are a small number of trial vehicles or prototypes available already to a few operators. More are coming soon with commercial sales likely in the next 2-5 years. Range could be up to 1000km.

Information sharing

  • OEMs are keen to share learning and challenges but lack a route to do so. They recognise the need for collaboration to make the transition work and are open to it. This includes international data and learning from trials in other countries.

Participating organisations (including 1:1 interviews)

  • SMMT
  • Menzies
  • HVS
  • Ballard
  • Volta Truck
  • Transport Scotland
  • CJ Lang
  • Fillshill
  • Scottish Wholesale Association
  • Zenobe
  • Volvo Road Haulage Association
  • Scania
  • Renault
  • ForEV
  • Cenex


The group met four times with email exchanges in addition. A paper was shared on Vehicle-as-a-service and & fleet aggregation, alongside information on the make up of the Scottish HGV fleet. 1:1 interviews were undertaken with additional stakeholders covering business models, aggregation, information sharing and vehicle availability, and learning distilled into a paper to inform discussion. Draft action areas were identified throughout meetings and then finalised at the September meeting.

Published Date 19 Mar 2024 Type Topic