White paper

The European heavy-duty vehicle market until 2040: Analysis of decarbonization pathways


This paper assesses the cost-effectiveness of different CO2 reduction strategies for the heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) sector. It examines the required HDV technology market share to meet currently mandated CO2 reduction targets and the corresponding decarbonization cost. In addition, it proposes HDV CO2 reduction targets up to 2040.

The study finds that battery-electric trucks are the most cost-effective technology for meeting the HDV CO2 reduction targets. The cost-optimal technology market share to meet a 60% CO2 reduction target by 2030 involves transitioning to battery-electric technologies for most truck segments, without fully exploiting the CO2 reduction potential of diesel trucks. A CO2 reduction target of 100% by 2040 would allow only the registration of zero-emission trucks, such as battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell technologies. From a compliance cost perspective, battery-electric trucks will be the cheaper technology for most segments, including long-haul trucks with driving mileages up to 500 km.

Although ambitious CO2 reduction targets will increase the average direct manufacturing costs of trucks, the resulting cost savings for the consumer and society are substantial and counterweigh the necessary investment. A CO2 reduction target of 60% by 2030 will result in a compliance cost of €12,473 per vehicle but can provide average cost savings in the range of €50,000–€120,000 per vehicle for the first and second users, depending on the diesel fuel prices. This is significantly higher than the cost savings obtained under the currently adopted policies, which is ranging between €30,000 and €60,000 per vehicle.

With a CO2 reduction target of 100% by 2040, compliance costs will increase slightly to €12,487 per vehicle, mainly driven by a reduction in the prices of zero-emission technologies. Consumer cost savings are expected to increase under a 100% CO2 reduction target, ranging between €100,000 and €200,000 per vehicle. In addition, societal cost savings are two to three times higher under the proposed CO2 reduction scenario than the currently adopted policies. In addition to the significant savings from a total cost of ownership perspective over the vehicle lifetime, the CO2 avoidance cost to society further increases the societal cost savings under more ambitious CO2 reduction targets.