ETI report highlights hybrids as option for decarbonising HGVs

Bridging the gap to zero emission HGVs may require hybrid vehicles, according to a report released by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

ETI report highlights hybrids as option for decarbonising HGVs

The report, ‘HGVs and their role in a future energy system‘, aims to address the decarbonisation options for HGVs as part of the wider energy system to help the UK reach an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and then to go beyond towards net zero.

HGVs account for around 4% of total UK carbon emissions and in some scenarios, this could rise to a 15% share by 2050. Electrification of the HGV fleet is the most promising long-term solution, but the fleet duty cycle and cost/packaging requirements pose challenges for existing technologies. Gas-electric plug-in hybrid vehicles could act as a bridging solution from 2025 to 2040 whilst fully zero CO2 tailpipe emissions options are developed.

According to the report, the use of hydrogen as an energy vector, either in zero emission platform solutions, or in plug-in hybrids, will require the supply of large volumes of cheap, clean hydrogen. This reinforces the need to deploy Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) technologies.

Rather than the ability of the energy system infrastructure to generate and distribute electricity, the report suggests that it is likely to be the availability of suitable vehicle platform solutions which will be the largest constraint on the electrification of HGVs.

The research also shows that an effective carbon price across the energy system would enable a transition to low and zero emission HGVs.

There is a cost associated with decarbonisation of the energy system, and in the absence of a carbon price, other ways to counter the naturally risk averse nature of fleet purchasers will also need to be found if the uptake of new technologies is to accelerate.

Jonathan Wills, chief executive officer of the ETI, said: “The HGV sector is a difficult area to decarbonise and the share of UK carbon emissions from HGVs is set to rise by 2050 if no action is taken. Through this research we have identified plug-in hybrid HGVs as a viable next step if overall energy system transition costs are to be minimised. Changing the purchasing behaviour of fleet operators will also be really important to help investment in new technologies.”


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