Zero Emission Mobility Industry Advisory Group - Meeting 3 - 14 September 2021


  • Presentation on IAG workplan - Matt Eastwood (TS)
  • Heavy Duty Vehicle Programme update - Caitlin Tullet (TS) and Lorna Edward (SE)
  • HDV skills baselining work update - Chris McGee (TS)
  • Update on COP26 activity and MOU on Zero Emission H/MDV - Ed Thomson, (TS)
  • Discussion of above
  • HGV decarbonisation route how to develop an approach - Karen Geekie (TS)
  • Discussion of above
  • Proposal for HDV Innovation workshop - Stuart Jackson (TS)
  • Discussion of above, plus conclusions and plans for next meeting


Meeting comprising introductory remarks from co-chairs Mr Dey, Minister for Transport (deputised by Andy McDonald, Scottish Enterprise for second part of meeting) and Ben Todd, Arcola Energy.

Morna Cannon, Head of Innovation and Acceleration, Transport Scotland, will outline the key aim of  the session.

Making progress on agreeing to a set of actions that will deliver the IAG’s vision for Scotland and which will be articulated in a report to be finalised for the group’s final meeting in November. With the vision for Scotland to be:

  • A global player in supply chains for zero emission mobility (H2 and Battery) for heavier and niche vehicles.
  • An international centre of expertise in energy-transport system integration.
  • A global destination for innovation in sustainable, zero emission mobility.

Papers Issued to Attendees in Advance of Meeting

Paper 1: Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero Emission Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles and RouteZero Public Sector Fleets Pledge


This paper describes the background to two international initiatives relating to the decarbonisation of automotive vehicles being developed in the lead up to COP26 in which Scotland has the opportunity to participate.

Background and context

Since 2019-20, Transport Scotland has been a member of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Community of the Under2 Coalition of regional and state governments; and the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance.

The Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Community brings together government representatives of varying levels, including national, regional and city authorities, to share experience of the transition to zero emission mobility. The Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA) is a network of national governments, city authorities and companies. It is currently exploring three key themes: active mobility; zero emission urban freight; and the fast track to decarbonisation. 

Participation in these networks helps to raise the profile of Scotland’s work in decarbonising transport; draw on the knowledge and experiences of the international community in addressing challenges in this area in ways that can advance policymaking in Scotland; and maximise inward investment and international collaboration with Scotland in research, technology development and other areas.

Both the Under2 Coalition and the TDA have a strong relationship with the UNFCCC process and experience of involvement in previous COP meetings. Transport Scotland is working closely with both networks on plans for events at COP with a view to securing strong Scottish participation.

MoU on Zero Emission Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles

Through our membership of the TDA, we have been involved in discussions from an early stage with the government of the Netherlands about a proposed global MoU on zero emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs). This is in response to global concern at the slow pace of the development and adoption of MHDVs compared to cars. The Dutch propose that governments sign up to an MoU setting a goal of 100% of sales of new MHDVs (encompassing both passenger and freight vehicles) being zero emission by 2040, with an interim target of 30% by 2030. The hope is that setting an ambitious and consistent target across many countries will focus government and private sector activity on the adoption of MHDVs in order to support the terms of the Paris Agreement.

The exact text is expected to be finalised in September 2021. A slide summarising its content is attached at Annex A. Plans are for the MOU to be presented at COP26, with organizers seeking to gain commitments to sign in advance from as many governments as possible. The MoU will not be legally binding, but signatories will be expected to commit to publishing data on their progress towards the target. Since its launch, the concept of the MoU has been backed by a number of states and organisations, including Austria, Canada, Chile, Germany, Greece, Norway and Sweden and the UK. Scotland and other sub-state governments and regions may have the opportunity to sign or otherwise formally associate themselves with the MoU.

The RouteZero ZEV Public Fleets Pledge

In parallel, the Under2 Coalition, TDA, the World Economic Forum, the UN High Level Climate Champions and other international organisations established a ‘RouteZero’ programme in April 2021 to promote the transition to zero emission vehicles. One of the programme’s initiatives is a ‘ZEV Public Fleets Pledge’ to “shift action on zero emission vehicles by sending a super-charged demand signal from major fleet owners and operators to policymakers, investors and automotive manufacturers”. Cities, states, regions, national governments, and public sector bodies are invited to sign up.

The Pledge asks governments and other public sector bodies to commit to converting their new and existing fleets to zero emission vehicles in one or more categories, in line with the following time frames:

  • buses by 2030
  • 2 and 3 wheelers by 2030
  • light duty vehicles by 2035
  • heavy duty vehicles by 2040.

A provision has been made within the pledge to exempt vehicle types that may not be feasibly converted to a zero emissions vehicle.

The Scottish Government intends to announce its signing of the pledge on 15 September 2021.

The focus of the MoU and the pledge are complementary but different: The MoU sets targets for the decarbonisation of certain types of vehicles in both public and private ownership throughout the economy; whereas the pledge involves public bodies committing to the decarbonisation of the vehicles they own or operate directly, or contract through procured services. Both initiatives relate to automotive vehicles, not trains, ships, aircraft or other applications.

Implications and opportunities for Scotland

We expect to see zero emission vehicles make up an increasing proportion of MHDVs over the next few years with the pace of uptake increasing steadily. In this context, a commitment to 30% of new MHDVs being zero emission by 2030 appears to be a stretching but achievable ambition, with the domestic targets set in Scotland in relation to the bus sector and HDVs in public sector fleets, if met, making a significant contribution.

Signing up to the MoU and the Pledge would be a high-profile show of Scotland’s commitment to the decarbonisation of transport, positioning Scotland alongside the most ambitious countries in this area. It would reinforce Scotland’s credibility with stakeholders, with a high likelihood of leading to further opportunities to shape international activity to support our domestic objectives.

Signing the MoU would also complement our current ambitions to decarbonise the vehicle fleet, reinforcing signals about the long-term commitment of Scotland’s fleet operators, ambition of its supply chain, and openness to working with overseas partners to mutual benefit. It would grant the Scottish Government and organisations in the automotive sector the opportunity to participate in international discussions on international work to support decarbonisation of MHDVs.

Support from the IAG

Members of the IAG are invited to note the content of the MoU and pledge; provide views on opportunities that may arise from Scotland’s participation in these initiatives; and advise on their potential value in relation to a decarbonisation pathway for HGVs and innovation in relation to HDVs under item 3 of the agenda (“Moving Forwards”).

Route zero pledge on zero emission public sector fleets - draft text

To achieve global net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, it is essential to accelerate the shift to zero emission vehicles.

Governments, as well as individual agencies, departments and public bodies need to take action to drive this transition. They can lead by example and contribute to the global momentum on climate action by pledging to convert their public fleets to zero emission vehicles as soon as possible.

Alongside action on fleets, governments in particular play a key role in the ZEV transition by setting targets, implementing vehicle efficiency and ZEV regulations to drive supply, adopting zero emission zones, providing financial and non-financial incentives, supporting charging infrastructure deployment, and raising public awareness.

Recognising this urgency, we [government/organisation name] pledge to convert our entire owned and leased fleets to zero emission vehicles, where feasible, as soon as possible and no later than the timeframes specified:

  • buses by 2030
  • 2 and 3 wheelers by 2030
  • light duty vehicles by 2035
  • heavy duty vehicles by 2040
  • C40 Green and Healthy streets signatory (option will be visible to C40 cities only)

Additionally, we pledge to use public procurement to support a faster conversion of other (“public-adjacent”) fleets where we have some degree of control, for example through requirements in service contracts.

Please tick to make additional pledge

[Participating bodies are expected to provide a description of policies and planned steps to convert fleets as well as other policies that support the transition to zero emission vehicles (e.g. policies on charging infrastructure, mandates and targets, incentives, public awareness). Participating governments are required to pledge to converting at least one of the vehicle types listed above within the relevant timeframe, providing details of the size of fleet they pledge to convert.]

Paper 2: Low Carbon Heavy Duty Vehicles Skills Baselining Study Automotive Industry Advisory Group: Update and Next Steps


This paper provides the Automotive Industry Advisory Group (IAG) with information about a recently completed research project (the HDV Skills Baselining Study) looking at the skills required to transition to low carbon/zero emission Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDVs). It explains the reason for carrying out the research, how it was conducted, the key findings, and its recommendations. It also sets-out the proposed actions to address the recommendations, and how members of the IAG can assist with these actions.

Context and background

The evidence about transport’s carbon impact is clear. Emissions from transport make up about 37% of Scotland’s emissions. And figures published in the National Transport Strategy 2 show that:

  • 12.5% of the total emissions produced in Scotland by transport, are from HDVs
  • The number of goods vehicle trips, is forecast to increase by 44% between 2014 and 2037

Of these HDVs, in 2020 there were 35,100 Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and 12,800 buses and coaches licensed in Scotland. But only 8 licensed ultra-low emission HGVs and 31 licensed ultra-low emission buses and coaches in Scotland.

Urgent action needs to be taken. This was made clear from the inclusion of a target in the Climate Change Plan Update in December 2020, “to remove the need for new petrol and diesel heavy vehicles by 2035”.

Making the move to zero emission HDVs is essential, if Scotland is to meet its legal requirement to be a net-zero emitting society by 2045.

A critical component necessary to make that transition, and to harness the potential economic benefits from it, is to make sure that Scotland’s workforce is equipped with the skills it needs to shift to zero emission HDVs.

Transport Scotland commissioned research to provide a thorough evidence-based understanding of the extent to which Scotland has, or is developing, the skills required to support the transition to low carbon/zero emission HDVs.

In particular the research aimed to:

  • Identify the current levels of capacity and capability of the required skills to support the transition to low carbon HDVs.
  • Identify Scotland’s skills requirements to support the transition to low carbon HDVs.
  • Identify the specific areas which need greater support/specific interventions to support the skills requirements.

How the research was carried out?

The consultancy Optimat were selected to carry out the research following a competitive procurement process, and were guided by a Steering Group, made up of representatives from:

  • Transport Scotland    
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • ESP
  • The Institute of the Motor Industry
  • The Road Haulage Association
  • Arcola Energy
  • The Scottish Research Partnership in Engineering
  • The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland

The research focussed on:

  • The skills required over five years (2021 to 25) and five to ten years (2026 to 2030) for road and off-road HDVs.
  • What is likely to be the rate of take-up of different drivetrain types over these time periods (influenced by a range of factors)?
  • What skills are required for these different drivetrain types?
    • Hybrid
    • Battery Electric
    • Hydrogen Fuel Cell
    • Electric
    • Biofuel

Research method

The research was carried out by a mixture of a:

  • desk-based review of relevant policies, strategies, papers, articles and other data sources, to provide input into projections of the development of the low carbon HDV fleet in Scotland,
  • a structured telephone survey with HDV garages in Scotland, and
  • stakeholder engagement sessions, and a validation workshop.

Key findings

The key findings from the research are:

  • Diesel is expected to remain a leading fuel for buses, coaches, and HGVs until at least 2026, with battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and hydrogen combustion engines, being more popular by 2032.
  • By 2032, diesel HDVs are likely to remain the most common type used on Scottish roads. As such there will be a continued need for individuals with existing skillsets related to diesel technology.
  • Even where low carbon HDVs are adopted there will be common skills requirements across all vehicle types, e.g. for testing, maintenance and repair of mechanical, pneumatic and hydraulic systems.
  • By 2032, battery electric is likely to constitute a significant proportion of the HDV fleet across all market sectors, particularly bus and coach where it could begin to challenge diesel as the leading technology type.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell HDVs will be emerging as a significant part of the bus and coach fleet and also be present in all other market sectors.
  • There is likely to be significant adoption of biomethane as ‘stepping-stone’ technology in the heavier end (41 Tonne+) of the HGV market.
  • Direct combustion of hydrogen (in both dual-fuel and pure formats) is likely to be utilised in both HGV and off-highway construction and agricultural markets.
  • There is currently a requirement for emergency service personnel to be trained to be able to safely deal with low carbon HDVs, with battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell, or dual fuel propulsion systems.
  • There are skills gaps present in vehicle sales/leasing, operators/owners, repair, maintenance and recovery, vehicle inspection/assessment/examination and end of life.


The report made the following recommendations of issues to investigate:

  • How skills development content can be developed and delivered for those involved in sales/leasing of low carbon HDVs but do not have easy access to manufacturer training.
  • The potential for a third-party certified competency scheme to enable those involved in low carbon HDV sales/leasing to demonstrate to customers they are credible to do so.
  • How operator skills in identifying and assessing low carbon HDVs and associated infrastructure can be developed.
  • The feasibility of an awarding/qualification body independently accrediting manufacturer training to formalise modules that can be delivered alongside existing non-manufacturer specific awards/accreditations.
  • The feasibility of incorporating mandatory elements (covering low carbon HDVs) within heavy-duty vehicle Modern Apprenticeship Framework.
  • The feasibility of preparing skills development content covering safe and competent working with high-pressure gas systems (hydrogen and biomethane) and also safe and competent working with fuel cells, potentially cross-sector.
  • The availability of skills development opportunities in electric/hybrid HDVs - this could include supporting the skills and competencies of trainers and reducing the barriers to accessing appropriate low carbon HDVs and training equipment.

Next steps

This HDV Skills Baselining Study provides  key findings and recommendations that will be discussed at a meeting of the Steering Group in September, to agree a suite of actions that address the skills gaps, and skills shortages, mentioned in the report. These actions will then be progresses by Transport Scotland, working in collaboration with representatives from skills developers, skills providers, and industry and stakeholders.

The HDV Skills Baselining Study’s report will also be published on Transport Scotland’s website.

Support from the IAG

The IAG are asked to note the findings from the research and support the actions being considered to address the report’s recommendations.

Published Date 14 Sep 2021 Type Topic