We need an intensive dialogue between governments, energy companies, associations and manufacturers, because all of us are called on to make the carbon-neutral transport of the future a success.
In addition to requiring the right vehicle technology, locally CO2 neutral transport needs to be cost-effective and have an appropriate infrastructure. Otherwise, our customers will be unable to use carbon-neutral trucks and buses and earn money with them. As a result, they won’t buy such vehicles.
These three factors are as closely interconnected as the factors of a multiplication problem. If one of the factors is zero, the entire result will be zero, no matter how strong the other factors are.
However, the requirement that all three factors be present must not lead to a chicken-or-egg problem in which manufacturers, energy companies and governments simply wait until all the others have all done their homework. On the contrary, we have to address all three factors simultaneously — and do so now. That’s because each of these factors will need time to complete and we don’t have any time to lose. In May 2021 we announced our planned cooperation with Shell. As a result, two big players in their respective sectors have answered the question of whether the infrastructure or the vehicles should come first: they both must go hand in hand.
- Offering the right carbon-neutral vehicles is the quintessential job of manufacturers like Daimler Truck, and we have dedicated ourselves to this task.
- We are using batteries and fuel cells to do so, and we already have specific models on the market or in development.
- We are investing large sums, and we consider zero-emission vehicles to be the best means of not only reducing CO2 but also improving air quality.
- More specifically, this means that governments should not implement an additional expensive Euro-7 regulation, especially since strict NOx limits would lead to additional CO2 emissions (because the gases would have to be preheated for exhaust treatment).
- The creation of the necessary infrastructure for batteries and fuel cells is primarily the task of the energy companies.
- This task is so huge that governments should lend a helping hand.
- That’s why we should not spend money on additional technologies such as LNG/natural gas or catenary systems, because these techniques are expensive dead ends.
- With regard to hydrogen, only green hydrogen should be used. We cannot achieve the goal of creating a carbon-neutral economy by using grey hydrogen. Blue hydrogen could, of course, serve as an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative during the initial phase — until 2030 or so.
- In addition, we see clear advantages to using liquid hydrogen, although we can also work technically with gaseous hydrogen.
- Carbon-neutral trucks and buses are currently substantially more expensive than conventional vehicles and will remain so for the foreseeable future. As a result, they would not be competitive at the moment.
- Despite all of the efforts by manufacturers, this will remain the case for years to come unless governments implement corrective measures.
- That’s why the competitive situation has to be same for these vehicles as for diesel trucks. This can be achieved by introducing a CO2-based toll and (not or!) steadily increasing CO2 taxes on diesel fuel. During the initial phase, a programme of subsidies for the purchase of carbon-neutral trucks will definitely also be needed.