By Nick Carey
Dec 8 (Reuters) - More than 40 manufacturers, shippers and industry groups including Siemens, Maersk and Unilever called on the EU on Thursday to mandate that all freight trucks be zero-emission models by 2035.
In a letter published on Thursday the group said its signatories "urge the European Commission to set all new freight trucks on a path to zero emission from 2035," with a five-year exemption for vocational vehicles such as construction, mining and timber trucks that will require longer to develop and produce at scale.
A zero-emission strategy "will determine how fast the EU transitions away from polluting fossil-powered trucks to clean zero emission alternatives and if the EU will lead or be left behind in this inevitable industrial transition."
The Commission is currently working on proposals for CO2 reduction targets for freight trucks and the infrastructure to charge electric or fuel hydrogen-powered heavy-duty vehicles.
The European Union has already proposed an effective ban on fossil-fuel passenger cars by 2035.
While there are a large number of electric passenger car models either on the market or coming over the next few years, there are very few zero-emission heavy-duty models currently available.
The signatories of the letter called on the European Commission to raise the 2030 CO2 reduction target for freight trucks to 65% below the emissions level in 2019, compared with the previous 2030 target of a 30% reduction. They also called for the EU to set a new intermediate target of a 30% reduction by 2027.
The group also said that "targeted financial support" will be needed to offset the "higher upfront purchasing cost of electric trucks, in particular for early frontrunners and for small and medium-sized companies." (Reporting by Nick Carey in London Editing by Matthew Lewis)