Road freight

Emissions from trucks and vans are growing fast. But clean, battery electric trucks and vans are ready today.

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Improving fuel efficiency of trucks with internal combustion engines, shifting more goods to rail and waterborne transport, as well as optimising logistics processes can contribute to reducing freight emissions.

However, these measures alone are insufficient to reach the EU’s climate targets, considering that the demand for freight transport will further increase in the future. Freight efficiency measures must come in addition to zero-emission vans and trucks moving goods on European roads.


While trucks account for less than 2% of the vehicles on the road in Europe, they made up 23% of the CO2 emissions from road transport in 2019. And their emissions are growing fast – increasing 9% between 2014 and 2019. A full decarbonisation of the EU truck fleet is crucial to reach climate neutrality by 2050; and this will only be possible by switching to zero-emission trucks.

The European Regulation on CO2 standards for new heavy duty vehicles (HDVs) obliges European truck manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of conventional diesel trucks and increase the number of zero-emission trucks in Europe. The 2022 revision of the CO2 standards needs to significantly increase the regulatory ambition. The current target for 2030 of 30% is insufficient and needs to be considerably increased. In addition, the vast majority of trucks with combustion engines need to be phased out by 2035.

With the technology quickly improving, cities demanding improved air quality and the recent announcements from European truck makers, zero-emission trucks will enter the EU market fast in the coming years. To speed up the switch, the deployment of an effective and comprehensive charging infrastructure network for battery electric trucks is key.


Trucks are involved in around 4,000 fatal collisions each year in the EU and the UK, and approximately 900 of these deaths are cyclists and pedestrians. For each fatality, five more suffer severe injuries with life-changing consequences. T&E is advocating for better truck designs that will make our roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.


The fastest growing source of CO2 emissions from transport is vans, which now account for 13% of road transport carbon pollution in the EU. Emissions-free vans are ready, but due to weak CO2 targets for vanmakers, only 2% of the new vans sold in 2020 were electric – compared to 10% for cars. T&E advocates that all new vans sold in the EU should be zero-emission at the latest by 2035 to meet Europe’s climate neutrality objective by 2050.

Road freight challenges

Latest publications

Read the latest publications about road freight