Approximately one year after the introduction of the funding programme for energy-efficient and/or low-CO2 heavy commercial vehicles in road freight transport companies (EEN) of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI – Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur), the first figures have now been released.

These figures reveal that funding approval notices were issued for the purchase of a total of 1,390 trucks with a permissible total weight of 7.5 t and alternative drive systems. Of these, 1,333 trucks are gas-powered (994 vehicles with liquefied natural gas (LNG) and 339 with compressed natural gas (CNG). A further 57 notices were issued for the purchase of trucks with electric drive systems. The programme provides funding for trucks with battery and fuel cell drive systems and for hybrid electric vehicles.

The high demand for the EEN funding programme for energy-efficient and/or low-CO2 heavy commercial vehicles shows that the programme is well received by the logistics and freight forwarding industry and that the BMVI is thereby successfully supporting the market development of commercial vehicles with alternative drive systems. So far, 16.4 million euros have been disbursed and the funds available for the funding programme have been doubled from 10 to 20 million euros.

Heavy commercial vehicles with alternative drive systems make a significant contribution to improving climate protection. Natural gas produces up to 90 percent less particulate matter than diesel, and nitrogen oxide emissions are also significantly reduced. In addition, CO2 emissions are cut by up to 20 percent with fossil natural gas. The carbon footprint of electric vehicles is even better, depending on the origin of the electricity required for their operation.

Besides procurement, the BMVI also provides funding support for the use of heavy commercial vehicles by exempting them from road tolls. Vehicles powered by natural gas will be exempted until the end of 2020, vehicles powered by electricity will be exempted indefinitely. To this end, the development of alternative charging and refuelling infrastructure will also be supported. This is being achieved through the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) and the electric mobility funding programmes that are coordinated by NOW GmbH. In addition, the federal government’s Mobility and Fuel Strategy (MFS – in German: Mobilitäts- und Kraftstoffstrategie, MKS) provides scientific support for accompanying issues relating to alternative propulsion systems in freight transport and also promotes model projects.