The future role of hydrogen and BEVs for HGVs is still being developed, but it is likely that BEVs will have an important role in decarbonising commercial vehicles.
The range of vehicles on the market is increasing rapidly, with mainstream manufacturer and repower options available in most segments.
Availability will increase rapidly later in the 2020s, ahead of deadlines to phase out sales of diesel HGVs in 2035 and 2040.
Vehicle manufacturers are developing both BEV and hydrogen fuel cell technology as potential replacements for diesel HGVs. There is ongoing debate about the future role of both technologies for HGVs.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) forecasts that hydrogen will replace most HGV diesel consumption.
InnovateUK forecast that the share of BEV and hydrogen fuel trucks will be 50/50 by 2050.
Currently there are no hydrogen HGVs available commercially in the UK from mainstream manufacturers. However, manufacturers are starting to trial and deploy battery electric HGVs.
The LoCITY Commercial Vehicle Finder shows there are many BEV HGVs available on the market today – mostly rigid trucks but also tractor units.
The Commercial Vehicle Finder also shows that availability is set to double, with several manufacturers bringing new BEV rigid trucks and tractor units to market.
Cenex has developed a series of roadmaps which illustrate the expected introduction of low emission technologies. The roadmap below shows the expected introduction of low emission of alternative fuel drivetrains for HGVs, highlighting when they are expected to reach operational maturity and commercial readiness.
The key points from the roadmap are:
Rigid electric trucks: Up to 2025, medium rigid trucks will appear in low production volumes and demonstration activity. The upfront price premium means high mileage duty cycles or long ownership periods are required. Volumes are expected to gradually increase with the first signs of large-scale national deployment towards the end of the decade, driven by the UK’s 2035 and 2040 deadlines for phasing out sales of diesel HGVs.
Artic electric trucks: Articulated electric trucks will continue to be developed and demonstrated throughout the decade and are likely to be deployed in short haul applications.
Hydrogen: Articulated fuel cells trucks will deployed in large scale demonstration trials as we move to 2025, with OEM product availability growing. The transition to mainstream technology is expected to start as we move towards the end of the decade with deployment increasing inline with the availability of hydrogen refuelling stations.
 The roadmaps use arrows to illustrate technology development. A single arrow shows that we have a high degree of confidence in the likely time this transition will happen.