Setting clear and well-defined targets are critical for the coordination of all actors involved in the transition to zero-emission technologies. Signaling this shift through government-established targets well in advance will allow fleet operators, manufacturers, utility providers, local authorities, and other stakeholders to develop policy of their own and prepare for the transition by shifting supply chains, advancing innovative financing mechanisms, targeting investments, and educating those in the field. Without clear targets established at this stage, progress will be stymied, and growth limited. While many countries have announced targets to achieve carbon neutrality, few countries have adopted targets specific to the transportation sector and even fewer yet have adopted targets for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, the vehicles responsible for a disproportionate share of emissions and fuel consumption.

In order to meet broad economy-wide climate emission reduction goals, there must be accelerated action to target decarbonization where it works now and build on those successes to achieve commercialization. With the private sector and manufacturers already setting ambitious manufacturing and sales targets as early as 2025 and 2030, governments must take leadership in setting the course for a zero-emission transportation future.

For transparency and clarity, for a country to achieve the “maximum” eligibility, a country must:

  • Establish targets for ZE-MHDVs that are consistent with that of the Global MOU (e.g., 30% of sales of new MHDVs being zero emissions by 2030, and 100% by 2040).

To receive “limited” eligibility a country must:

  • Establish targets for ZE-MHDVs (but that are less ambitious than the MOU targets), OR;
  • Establish ambitious transportation emissions targets, OR;
  • Establish a national 2050 carbon neutrality target.

Figure 1: Overview of country policy targets for on-road transportation and carbon neutrality

The figure above summarizes targets established by countries for zero-emission vehicles and the phaseout of combustion engine vehicles. The Global MoU target sets a goal for 100% zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (ZE-MHDV) sales by 2040. Acknowledging the long lifetime of trucks and other MHDVs—often over 10-15 years—this target must be met to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050.