For the first time, commercial vehicle manufacturers are providing detailed information on the planned sales figures for trucks with alternative drive systems. According to the report, around three-quarters of new registrations in heavy road freight transport are to be emission-free in 2030. The technological focus is on batteries and fuel cells.

In order to fulfil the federal government’s climate targets, about one third of the mileage in heavy road freight transport is to be performed electrically by 2030. As the key roadmap of the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV – Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr), the “Overall Concept for Climate-Friendly Commercial Vehicles” (“Gesamtkonzept klimafreundliche Nutzfahrzeuge”) shows how this ambitious goal is to be achieved. The first progress report (in German) on the overall concept was recently presented.

One of the most important tasks of the BMDV is to ensure that the infrastructure is developed in line with demand. With the publication “Market Development of Climate-Friendly Technologies in Heavy Road Freight Transport” (“Marktentwicklung klimafreundlicher Technologien im schweren Straßengüterverkehr”), information on the planned sales figures and the associated strategic orientations of the most important commercial vehicle manufacturers is now available for the first time. These figures were obtained through confidential discussions conducted in accordance with anti-trust law and have now been published in aggregated form. These findings show that the transition of road freight transport to climate-friendly drive systems could take place far more dynamically than previously assumed.

Dr Volker Wissing, Federal Minister for Digital and Transport: “Vehicle manufacturers are anticipating a dynamic market ramp-up for heavy-duty commercial vehicles that use batteries and fuel cells. According to forecasts, by 2030 around three quarters of new registrations will be emission-free. For this, we need an adequate refuelling and charging infrastructure. My goal is to accelerate the expansion of the infrastructure decisively. The planning and development of the charging infrastructure for battery-electric commercial vehicles is a key area of focus in the Charging Infrastructure Master Plan II. One core measure is the invitation to tender for a charging network specifically for trucks, which is to be launched this year. In addition, we are supporting the development of a basic network of publicly accessible hydrogen filling stations for commercial vehicles. This is a fundamental prerequisite towards achieving climate-friendly logistics and gives the industry planning security.”

Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff, CEO and spokesperson for NOW GmbH: “The manufacturers are ready for the transition to alternative drives – what is needed now is the corresponding refuelling and charging infrastructure. Today, NOW GmbH is supporting the establishment of a basic network of publicly accessible hydrogen filling stations within the scope of the National Innovation Programme Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology of the BMDV. And the National Centre for Charging Infrastructure, which operates under the umbrella of NOW GmbH, is working with special planning tools that were developed in-house on an initial charging network for battery-electric trucks. The energy industry, however, must also make its contribution in this regard and proactively promote the expansion of the electricity grid as well as the availability of hydrogen in accordance with the required capacities.”

Overview of the most important results:

  • Electric drives with batteries and fuel cells are the main focus of the drive strategies of the commercial vehicle manufacturers.
  • With a view to the EU fleet target values for new heavy-duty commercial vehicles for 2025, the initial focus is on battery-electric trucks owing to their technological availability.
  • The technology and series maturity of the fuel cell truck is regarded by most manufacturers currently pursuing this drive technology as being in the second half of the decade.
  • Regardless of the chosen drive strategy, there is consensus among the commercial vehicle manufacturers that the development of infrastructure is the most important building block for the establishment of climate-friendly commercial vehicles – its expansion must therefore take place extremely quickly in order to enable a rapid market ramp-up in a very short timeframe.
  • The manufacturers also consider reliable and long-term transparent financial incentives for the switch to climate-friendly commercial vehicles to be particularly important for the incipient market development, especially within the framework of the commercial vehicle toll.
  • The European CO2 fleet target values are cited as being a decisive driver for the commitment of commercial vehicle manufacturers in the area of climate-friendly commercial vehicles.

The evaluations provide important insights for planning the development of refuelling and charging infrastructure for zero-emission heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Furthermore, they also provide information that can serve as a basis for the decisions of other key players and stakeholders for the market ramp-up. These include not only infrastructure providers and those involved the energy industry, but also users such as transport, haulage and logistics companies.


To the publication (in German):

Further information (in German) on the BMDV’s overall concept for climate-friendly commercial vehicles: