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£200m to drive zero emission trucks onto Britain’s roads

Published to the CV Show website on
02/11/2023

Last month, government announced a £200m package to support the arrival of more zero emission trucks on UK roads, to decarbonise freight vehicles, drive innovation and create new jobs.

Freight Week saw it commit to invest across four projects to roll out up to 370 zero emission HGVs and help set road freight on the path towards net zero.

Delivered in partnership with Innovate UK, the zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrator programme will also deliver about 57 refuelling and electric charging sites, providing the crucial infrastructure to help the haulage sector decarbonise.

Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Innovate UK, said: “As the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK is committed to supporting innovative UK businesses working to decarbonise the UK’s road freight industry.

“Together with the Department for Transport (DfT), the £200 million in government funding will develop world-leading battery and hydrogen trucks and demonstrate, at a large scale, creating greener jobs and boosting our net zero economy.”

The four projects to be funded under the zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrator programme are:

  • Gridserve, which will use its Project Electric Freightway to demonstrate up to 140 battery electric HGVs that will be provided by DAF and Volvo, alongside up to 220 chargers, 70% of which will be open-access.
  • Project Zero Emission North (ZEN) Freight, that will demonstrate up to 70 battery electric and 30 hydrogen fuel HGVs. Eddie Stobart and Royal Mail are two of the hauliers participating in the scheme.
  • Voltempo, whose eFREIGHT 2030 project will demonstrate up to 100 battery electric HGVs in partnership with Renault Trucks, Scania and DAF. It is set to create up to 200 new jobs by 2030 and provide Birmingham with one of the UK’s first electric vehicle charging hubs dedicated to HGVs. The funding will help grocery companies such as Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer lower their transport emissions while protecting them from rising delivery costs associated with changing petrol and diesel prices.
  • Hydrogen Aggregated Logistics (HyHAUL), led by Protium, which will deploy about 30 hydrogen fuel cell HGVs onto the M4. Through DfT funding, the HGV fleet will be serviced by one fixed hydrogen refuelling station (HRS) and mobile refuelling in two other locations. The project has longer term ambitions to implement two extra permanent hydrogen refuelling stations in Magor and Bridgend, alongside additional hydrogen conversion projects along the M4.

Michael Boxwell, Project Director of eFREIGHT 2030, said: “eFREIGHT 2030 sets us on a journey to net zero within the heavy road freight industry.

“DfT support kick-starts the transformation, enabling us to create the charging infrastructure and bring in electric HGVs simultaneously.

“By early 2026, we will have 11 fleets deploying electric HGVs and a nationwide HGV charging network using British-built chargers. Each charge hub will provide at least 6 charge bays and 1,000kW charging.”

Freight Week saw ministers visiting multiple freight stakeholders, to understand how the sector can continue to drive innovation and play a crucial role in creating new jobs, growing the economy and helping the UK get closer to net zero.

To further drive innovation in freight and logistics, an additional £2.4 million has also been unlocked through the second round of the Freight Innovation Fund (FIF).

As part of the fund, the FIF Accelerator – now open for applications – will help up to ten small and medium enterprises develop new ways to make freight greener, more efficient and more resilient.

The £7 million, three-year FIF aims to scale up and roll out innovative technology across the industry to decarbonise freight.

It is at the heart of the Future of Freight Plan, the first-ever cross-modal and cross-government vision to help the industry improve planning, boost innovation in data and technology and facilitate the transition to net zero.

The first round of the FIF supported a series of projects, from using drones to deliver mail and services to the Orkney Islands, implementing AI and data to reduce costs, to deploying zero-emission technology to track and move freight across London.

Nicola Yates OBE, Chief Executive Officer at Connected Places Catapult, said: “Freight is a crucial sector for the UK and contributes around £127 billion to the economy, but it is not without its challenges.

“Reducing the sector’s carbon footprint, cutting journey times and easing traffic congestion are key areas of focus, alongside the development of efficient and better-connected logistics hubs.

“We are proud to be continuing our work with DfT as we open applications for the second cohort of the FIF accelerator programme.

“The companies chosen will benefit from access to funding and expert support to develop their technologies and innovations that promise to make the freight sector grow, become greener and work smarter.”

The UK continues to be at the forefront of the global transition to net zero and the announcements made are another important milestone to decarbonise freight, one of the economy’s most vital industries.

 

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