ZEVTC publication

Decarbonizing road transport by 2050: Effective policies to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles

This briefing identifies and evaluates government policies aiming to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). After an examination of policies in the largest and leading ZEV markets, the paper draws implications for future action based on technology, market, and policy trends.

The paper is in two parts. Part I, covering light-duty vehicles (passenger vehicles and small vans), overviews benefits of ZEVs in terms of climate, air quality, energy independence, and driving experience, and the barriers of availability, affordability, convenience, and awareness that must be overcome if they are to replace vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. The paper surveys actions governments are taking across five major areas to surmount those barriers: zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) targets, regulations, incentives, infrastructure, and consumer awareness.

Part II examines the situation regarding zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles (buses and trucks). HDVs are responsible for 78% of global black carbon emissions and 86% of nitrogen oxide emissions. The total greenhouse gas emissions of the global HDV fleet are projected to surpass those of the LDV fleet by 2025, based on current trajectories. In contrast to the steady increase in sales of zero-emission LDVs, sales of zero-emission HDVs are small but clearly on the rise. In 2020, more than 4,600 were sold in ZEV Transition Council markets. Buses accounted for two-thirds of these sales.