Plug-in hybrids to smooth the gap to zero-emission vehicles

Plug-in hybrid vehicles may be needed to bridge the gap to zero tailpipe emission vehicles, according to a report focusing on heavy goods vehicles by the government-backed Energy Technologies Institute.

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 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and then to go beyond towards net zero.

It points out that HGVs account for around four per cent of total UK carbon emissions and in some scenarios, this could rise to a 15 per cent 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 while fully zero CO2 tailpipe emissions options are developed.

Chief executive Jonathan Wills 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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