ICE vs EV: truck emissions must look at broader fleet impact

Recent research weighs up the impact of three different approaches to reducing emissions in medium and heavy trucks. Megan Lampinen hears more

The pressure is on for the transport sector to clean up its tailpipe emissions. Battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell applications are attracting considerable headline space, but they may not be the only—or even the most effective—tools to achieve a cleaner fleet. A study conducted by Stillwater Associates for the Diesel Technology Forum evaluated three approaches—electrification, accelerated fleet turnover, and use of biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel—to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) and other emissions from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for the period 2022-2032. It concluded that there are significant, less expensive, and more easily available strategies that could enable greater emission reductions faster than electrification.

Special report: Commercial vehicle ICE innovation

For instance, fuelling the diesel vehicles in the study with 100% renewable diesel resulted in three times the cumulative GHG reductions by 2032 compared with electric vehicles (EV) scenarios. Using B20—a 20% blend of biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel—provided roughly the same cumulative GHG reduction.

Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, warns that the shift to new energy sources still faces significant uncertainties and a long wait before meaningful implementation. As he tells Automotive World, advanced diesel technology and renewable biodiesel fuels could deliver a big impact today.

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