Berlin and Brussels should realise that e-fuels for trucks are a bad, expensive bet

(EurActiv, 19 Nov 2019) The world’s largest truckmaker does not think that e-fuels are a viable way to decarbonise heavy transport. Stef Cornelis explains here why he could not agree more.

Stef Cornelis is clean trucks manager at sustainable transport group Transport & Environment.

After years of heel dragging and fighting truck fuel efficiency standards, it looks like Daimler might be stepping up its game.

Last month it announced that by 2039 all their new trucks and buses will be CO2 neutral. According to Daimler this can only be achieved with battery electric and hydrogen technologies.

This announcement seems to be a major step for an industry that not so long ago mainly saw biofuels and gas vehicles as clean alternatives.

But maybe the most interesting scoop was the head of Daimler Trucks and Buses, Martin Daum, telling Tagesspiegel that he doesn’t see synthetic fuels (known as e-fuels) as a viable alternative.

With this statement it now seems that, like Volkswagen, Daimler is now on a collision course with the German autolobby. The country’s automakers association, the VDA, sees e-fuels as a ‘promising way’ to decarbonise trucks.

What’s even more striking is the fact that not only the VDA but also the German government and the European Commission are still betting on e-fuels for trucks.

In its recent 2030 Climate Action Programme, the German government set the goal that by 2030, one-third of truck traffic needs to be electric or powered by electricity-based fuels. The European Commission, for their part, sees very big potential for e-fuels for trucks in its 2050 Long-Term Strategy, Clean Planet for all.

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EurActiv, 19 Nov 2019: Berlin and Brussels should realise that e-fuels for trucks are a bad, expensive bet