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Tolls and More: How Trucks Should Be Climate Friendly | Free Press

Berlin (dpa) – Batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and airlines must steer trucks and other commercial vehicles towards a climate-friendly future, and the state wants to help.

The Federal Ministry of Transport plans to promote alternative types of low CO2 emissions without technology and invest money in the necessary infrastructure. A new air conditioning component in the truck toll is supposed to make fuel consumers worse than clean vehicles. This stems from a concept that Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) discussed on Wednesday with representatives of the industries involved.

“For the first time, a surcharge based on CO2 emissions will be applied to truck tolls,” he says. “In contrast, trucks that emit little or no CO2 should receive an infrastructure fee reduction of up to 75 percent compared to the infrastructure fee for vehicles with the highest emissions.” That is what they want to do at the EU level. The debate is already underway.

The goal is to introduce it from 2023, according to the concept. There should also be a discount for hybrid vehicles that “should be treated as zero-emission vehicles on routes that can be shown to have no emissions.” The instrument is technologically neutral, as it is about the emissions themselves and not the drive technology with which they are reduced.

For airline trucks that are powered by electricity and are already being tested in various locations, more “test and pilot routes” will be established, “especially on commuter routes that are heavily used in the region,” as the concept says. The next stages should be the long-term use of transport routes, the development of a core network and the connection with other countries.

Before the peak meeting, Scheuer had renewed his demand for a scrapping bonus for older trucks, even if that would flow to new combustion engines. As long as there are no large trucks with batteries or fuel cell units that are suitable for the mass market, a bridge is needed. “Because we also have the latest technology in the combustion engine, which is absolutely an improvement,” he told broadcaster Bayern 2. However, this is controversial in the federal government, it was not included in the concept since Wednesday . Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) told the broadcaster that politicians did not deliberately initiate a premium for scrapping cars.

The president of the Federal Environment Agency, Dirk Messner, flatly rejects Scheuer’s request: “The truck bond currently under discussion can hardly contribute to short-term climate protection,” he said. In the medium term, it even avoids switching to emission-free truck units. Anyone who buys a diesel truck with government subsidies will hardly buy an electric truck in a few years. “A Euro VI truck emits on average around 5 percent less CO2 per kilometer than a Euro V truck. That hardly justifies a subsidy of 15,000 euros per vehicle.”

As with passenger cars, the limit values ​​will also apply to emissions from commercial vehicles in the EU. From an industry point of view, there is still no viable alternative to diesel for heavy trucks, especially on long trips. To change that, the state wants to spend a lot of money. By 2023, around 1.16 billion euros will be available to finance commercial vehicles with alternative propellants and around 4.1 billion euros to expand tank, cargo and airline infrastructure.

Also driven by future requirements, manufacturers are investing heavily in promoting new technologies. As with cars, the entire new vehicle fleet in Daimler’s truck division should be CO2 neutral by 2039 at the latest. The group recently presented a two-pronged strategy for the coming years: batteries for shorter distances with a light load, fuel cells for heavy long-haul trucks. New powertrain concepts in the commercial vehicle business are closely related to the industry-wide agitation toward greater electrification. Switching from pure diesel technology is tedious and could cost thousands of jobs.