At Amazon we know that our customers, employees and partners want us to not just contribute, but to lead on sustainability and preserving our planet. Key for this are zero-emission vehicles, especially trucks. The current re-definition of emission rules for trucks in the EU is a critical opportunity to set the course towards decarbonisation for logistics.
In support of The Climate Pledge - our commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040 – we are committed to creating a delivery fleet that helps us reach these goals. Currently, we have deployed thousands of electric vans in Europe and, in 2022, we began rolling out electric, 40-ton heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs). We’re also using alternative transportation methods, including e-scooters, e-cargo bikes and more to deliver packages to customers across Europe.
However, our transportation network remains one of the most challenging areas of our business to decarbonise, and achieving net-zero carbon will require a substantial and sustained investment. A key reason for this is that zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles are not yet readily available at scale, and are cost-prohibitive for many companies. Currently, a zero-emission 40-ton truck requires two to three times the capital investment of a conventional diesel vehicle, and the infrastructure to support their operation is insufficient. We must therefore be bold. In late 2022, we announced plans to invest more than €1 billion over the next five years to further electrify and decarbonise our European transportation network. We will use this investment to increase our fleet to at least 10,000 electric delivery vans and more than 1,500 electric heavy-duty vehicles.
However, it is clear that for the logistics sector to fully embrace zero-emission trucks, owners expect that, alongside equal cost of vehicle ownership, the technology needs to offer similar flexibility and availability as fossil-fuel powered alternatives, so that businesses can operate effectively. Operators must be able to schedule and plan routes seamlessly while decarbonising in a cost-effective, yet ambitious and progressive, way; they need to be sure that zero-emission vehicles will be able to operate across the EU’s single market, and that fast charging infrastructure will be broadly available. Innovation and scale, enabled by a strong regulatory framework, will be essential to achieving this.
The need for early ambition
Long-term targets for full decarbonisation by 2040 or 2050 are very important destinations, but in order to take on the challenge, interim goals are key.
The current EU target is that, by 2030, trucks registered in that year should emit 30% less than those registered in 2019. We believe that this target should be increased to at least 50%, and that the longer-term target of 90% by 2040 is critical to fostering innovation in road logistics, with zero-emission vehicles forming the backbone.
With high ambition, public-private cooperation becomes even more important, especially to reduce the risks of adopting new technologies. We are seeing encouraging signals from manufacturers about making zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles available at scale, and we at Amazon are keen to work closely with the transport industry, policymakers and civil society to make the transition happen as quickly as possible.