Low Emission Fuels and Vehicles for Road Freight: introductory guide to support the transition to zero emissions

Amsterdam, 13 October 2020 - Smart Freight Centre launches a new guidance to support stakeholders with the transition to zero emissions, with support from the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO).

More governments and companies are setting climate targets. The end goal is zero-emission transport for all road transport, and in this transition phase road freight transportation with low emission fuels or electric vehicles (LEFV) is an important part of an effective strategy in the transition to net zero emissions. However, it is often unclear what ‘low’ or ‘zero’ emissions really means.

The Low Emission Fuels and Vehicles for Road Freight is an introductory guide to support the transition to zero emissions for different stakeholders who all have a role to play in this: freight transport operators (‘carriers’), freight transport buyers (‘shippers’), energy and infrastructure providers, vehicle and engine manufacturers (‘OEMs’) and policy makers. The aim is to create a common starting point for these stakeholders in order to make emission calculations more consistent and reliable, and to inform better and aligned decision-making regarding uptake of low emission fuels (natural gas, biofuels) and electric vehicles (electricity and hydrogen) for the road freight sector.

Key messages are:

  • Companies need to balance what they can do in the short term (e.g.biofuels and urban electric freight vehicles) with preparing for a full switch to electric/hydrogen for the entire trucking fleet.
  • The true climate impact from fuels and vehicles can only be determined by calculating emissions from the full fuel/energy life cycle, or ‘well-to-wheel’ rather than fuel combustion only or ‘tank-to-wheel’.
  • The total emissions of operation (TEO) should be considered alongside the total cost of operation (TCO) of electric freight vehicles so that companies can be assured that their investment makes economic and environmental sense.

"Knowing the right questions to ask is fundamental to good decision making, knowing which questions are the right ones is the tricky bit. The Low Emission Fuels and Vehicles for Road Freight introductory guide will to help operators and shippers understand the issues around the many low emission fuels that are coming onto the market. From simple definition of terms to total emission of ownership calculations, this guidance will help get the road freight sector on the right road to sustainability."
- Colin Smith, co-author and Certification Manager of The Energy Saving Trust
“New options for low emission fuels are being proposed and made available all the time.
As a next step beyond our initial Low Emission Fuels and Vehicles for Road Freight introductory guide, we intend to pull together the existing information about the emission performance of the most promising and widely available options. This will enable potential users to make informed decisions based on the latest credible evidence.”
- Alan Lewis, co-author of the guide and Technical Development Director at Smart Freight Centre

Download the Executive Summary here.

Download the full guide here.

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