After banning combustion engines for all new cars from 2035, the EU also wants to convert truck traffic to electric vehicles. The bill stipulates that heavy commercial vehicles should emit at least 90 percent less carbon dioxide by 2040. Since the EU defines CO2 emissions from electric or hydrogen vehicles as zero – regardless of the real emissions caused by electricity consumption – this means that a large part of the truck fleet would have to be electric.

Several countries want climate-controlled fuel as an electrical alternative

Several EU countries asked for a greater role for bio and synthetic fuels such as HVO diesel in the negotiations, but could not achieve this, also because Germany was not one of those countries. However, Volker Wissing's Federal Ministry of Transport (FDP) has also expressed concerns about the fleet limit value regulation, which has been fully negotiated at EU level. Therefore, a final vote, which was actually considered a formality, was postponed on Wednesday.

Why Daimler and MAN are betting on electricity

Some automakers, including Daimler and MAN, which have already invested billions in developing electric trucks for the European market, are pushing for a ban on combustion engines in the EU. For example, the head of truck giant MAN, Alexander Vlaskamp, ​​expressly welcomes the federal government's electric plans and the new climate toll. “Germany has taken an important and correct step by increasing the toll for diesel trucks. Investments in electric trucks will pay for themselves more quickly,” said Vlaskamp in an interview with “Automobilwoche”.

As the head of a truck manufacturer revealed to FOCUS online, the reason for the enthusiasm for electric vehicles is not always technical. It is also due to the fact that, although people continue to rely on combustion engines for other markets, there is a fear in the EU of having to bear the costs of developing electric trucks. “Basically we need a ban on combustion engines so we no longer have to compete with other technologies on the free market,” said the manager.

The transporters association calls for alternative fuels

The Federal Association for Freight Transport, Logistics and Disposal (BGL), the largest German association of freight forwarders and transport companies, sees things differently. The Federal Ministry of Transport is committed to “a greater role for CO2-neutral fuels” in the interests of transport companies, the BGL explained on Thursday. Therefore, it is necessary to renegotiate the bill.

BGL board spokesperson Dirk Engelhardt explains in an interview with FOCUS online why the association considers the EU and German electricity targets unrealistic and unfinanceable, at least for heavy truck traffic:

  • According to Toll Collect data from January, of the 800,000 heavy trucks on the road in Germany, only 524 are currently driving with electric drive, i.e. 0.065 percent.
  • An electric truck costs about 200,000 euros more than a diesel truck. The BGL calculates a state subsidy of 80 percent, that is, about 160,000 euros per vehicle; The businessman must pay 20 percent out of his own pocket.
  • “Assume that 10 percent of the approximately 50,000 new trucks purchased each year should be electric. For 5,000 vehicles, this would mean a necessary annual financing of 800 million euros,” said Engelhardt.
  • According to BGL estimates, around €1.5 billion will also be allocated to the expansion of charging infrastructure, warehouses and other facilities, as well as the construction of 40,000 new parking spaces. However, the Ministry of Transport estimates that the need will be less than 23,000 parking spaces. The parking problem is also widespread and would also affect combustion trucks.
  • The public access megachargers required for electric trucks, i.e. high-performance fast chargers with a power of 1,000 kW, are completely missing so far, Engelhardt continued.

“German medium-sized companies are left behind”

Like the road transport industry with its investments, the freight transport industry also fears that it will ultimately have to bear the costs: “In today's transport market, the comparison value (reference value) The diesel truck remains the cheapest offer. As an industry representative, we do not know of any carriers that are willing to pay higher prices for electric trucks that are more expensive to purchase. This applies to all industries. In the future, Eastern European drivers with diesel vehicles and low personnel costs will be awarded the contract. German medium-sized companies are being left behind and national transport capacities are being irremediably lost,” says Engelhardt.

The decision should be made on Friday.

According to government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, the federal government wants to clarify its position by Friday. If the traffic light parties cannot agree on a common position, Germany will have to abstain in the final vote in Brussels, meaning the necessary majority is no longer secure.