Britain’s Department for Transport (DfT) is pledging new heavy goods vehicles in the UK will be zero-emission by 2040.

The DfT maintains the UK will become the first country to commit to phasing out new, non-zero emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and less by 2035, with all new HGVs sold in the UK to be zero emission by 2040.

This comes as new research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, commissioned by the UK COP Presidency, shows progress made in the passenger vehicle market:

  • 31% of the global passenger vehicle market is now covered by vehicle manufacturer commitments to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, up from a near-zero share of the market at the start of 2021
  • Global sales of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) have grown since 2019 from 2.1m to 5.3m
  • ZEVs are forecast to be 70% of all new car sales in 2040, with the projection having doubled in the last five years
  • 19% of 2020 passenger vehicles sales were in countries that now have an internal combustion engine (ICE) phase-out date, up from 5% in 2019

A group of Ministers and industry leaders committed to working towards 100% zero emission new car and van sales by 2040 or earlier, met at Transport Day at COP26 in Glasgow recently. Some 34 countries, six major vehicle manufacturers (GM, Ford, Mercedes, BYD, Volvo, JLR), 41 cities, States and regions, 28 fleets and 13 investors jointly set out their plan for all new car and van sales to be zero emission by 2040 globally and 2035 in leading markets.

The Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council (ZEVTC) has met to discuss how international collaboration can support a global transition. The Council will launch its first annual action plan, which sets out areas for sustained international cooperation to accelerate the transition during 2022. Also announced, the US will join the UK as co-chair of ZEVTC.

Several initiatives are also being launched to help ensure a transition to ZEVs and support the acceleration of transport decarbonisation. This includes the World Bank’s Global Facility to Decarbonise Transport – a multi-donor trust fund that will mobilise US$200m during the next ten years to support the decarbonisation of road transport in emerging markets and developing economies in the Global South.

The UK has announced a GBP4m initial contribution to the fund.

“From our roads to the skies, the transition to zero emission transport has reached a tipping point,” said UK Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps.

“To support the transition to EVs, it’s integral we have the infrastructure to support it. My vision is for the UK to have one of the best EV infrastructure networks in the world, with excellent British design at its heart.”