IRU, ACEA, T&E and Hydrogen Europe call for more ambitious EU alternative fuels infrastructure

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Leading voices in decarbonising EU road transport are urgently calling on EU Member States and the European Parliament to agree on ambitious targets for electric recharging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.
IRU, representing commercial road transport operators, together with ACEA, representing vehicle manufacturers, Transport & Environment, an NGO, and Hydrogen Europe, an association grouping companies and public sector authorities, have signed a joint letter to EU leaders.
The four organisations are all concerned that targets set by the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on alternative fuels infrastructure may be substantially weakened during the legislative process.
In a letter to transport ministers from the 27 Member States of the EU and key European Parliament Rapporteurs today, the organisations call for ambitious and timely targets for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.
Raluca Marian, IRU’s EU Advocacy Director and General Delegate to the EU, said “Road transport operators are concerned that policy makers may not give them a fair chance to play their role in decarbonising the EU. A solid infrastructure for charging/fuelling zero-emission vehicles, evenly spread across the EU, is a basic enabler for transport operators to do the shift. If infrastructure building is delayed, how can transport operators buy the new vehicles starting to hit the market?”

Subject: Alternative fuels infrastructure targets must be ambitious to allow for a wide deployment of zero-emission vehicles in the EU

The International Road Transport Union (IRU), European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), Transport & Environment (T&E) and Hydrogen Europe (HE) urgently call on Member States and Members of European Parliament to set ambitious and timely targets for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in the European Union (EU).

The European Commission’s proposal to revise rules for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (AFIR), published on 14 July 2021 as part of the Fit for 55 Package, delivered a good starting point in terms of the ambition required to decarbonise the goods and passenger road transport sectors. Lowering the ambition – especially in terms of timing – could lead to a significant setback in achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal.

An ambitious AFIR is key to ensure that infrastructure and zero-emission vehicles are rolled out simultaneously across the EU. This would grant further confidence to all stakeholders, from vehicle manufacturers to transport operators and infrastructure providers. To achieve this, alternative fuels infrastructure targets for heavy-duty vehicles – for both battery-electric and hydrogen-fuelled – on the core and comprehensive sections of the Trans-European Road Transport (TEN-T) Network should remain ambitious.

Battery-electric heavy-duty vehicles are already beginning to hit the market, with increasingly wider offerings also for long-haul operations expected soon. Therefore, it is crucial to have ambitious mandatory TEN-T targets from 2025 at the latest. Targets should also be extended to safe and secure parking areas from 2025 onwards. Equally important, hydrogen refuelling stations have to be fully deployed along both the TEN-T core and comprehensive road networks with sufficient minimum daily capacities by meeting the AFIR targets at the latest by 2030, while ensuring that the pre-2030 ambition matches the roll-out of hydrogen-fuelled heavy-duty vehicles in the second half of this decade.

Furthermore, ambitious objectives and targets should be set for urban nodes, since zero- emission heavy- and light-duty vehicles have an important role to play in reducing emissions in European cities.

Commercial road transport operators stand ready to shift to alternatives. Despite the industry’s willingness to embrace alternatively fuelled vehicles, the electric recharging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure that is suitable for heavy-duty vehicles and indispensable for their operation is still largely missing and far from what is necessary to make a real impact.

It is therefore imperative for the AFIR to rapidly set minimum requirements for the establishment of a comprehensive, reliable, evenly distributed and interconnected network of alternative fuels infrastructure across the entire EU. An EU-wide backbone infrastructure is

especially important, given the trans-national nature of the European road haulage and mobility industries. Europe cannot afford a patchwork of 27 different infrastructure plans.

On behalf of the signatories, we urge Member States and Members of European Parliament to set ambitious provisions for electric recharging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, which will allow for the rapid uptake of zero-emission vehicles.

CC: Ministers of Transport of EU Member States, European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) Rapporteur and Shadow Rapporteurs for the European Commission’s proposal to revise EU rules on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure