A 40-tonne electric tractor, model year 2021, thus emits 63% of greenhouse gases than a diesel truck over 1.3 million kilometers travelled, by integrating its manufacture and electricity produced according to the energy mix European, says the environmental NGO.

With electricity generated from renewable energy, these emissions could be reduced by 84% compared to the most efficient diesel trucks.

Fuel cell trucks can reduce emissions by 85%, but only if their hydrogen is produced from renewable energy, which remains extremely rare.

"The problem is not the construction of the vehicle but its use on the road", indicated Nikita Pavlenko, one of the authors of the study, in charge of fuels at the ICCT.

"Our study responds to the uncertainties about the gases emitted at each stage of the vehicle's life. It shows that only electric trucks and certain fuel cell trucks can enable the transport sector to achieve its climate objectives", continues Mr. Pavlenko in the statement.

Natural gas, put forward by many carriers to lower their greenhouse gas emissions, only allows "marginal" reductions, between 4 and 18% less than diesel, underlines the study.

If we take into account the consequences of natural gas on short-term warming, linked to methane leaks during the extraction of the gas, this energy becomes even more polluting than diesel.

The transport sector is the leading producer of greenhouse gases (30%) in the European Union.

Heavy vehicles, between buses and trucks, account for around 26% of these emissions.

While buses and light commercial vehicles are rapidly converting to electric, diesel still powered 99% of trucks sold in Europe in 2021.

© 2023 AFP