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Decarbonising freight: will Sweden’s eHighway take us in the right direction?

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Sweden last month became one of the first countries to introduce a highway with overhead electrical wires to transfer electrical power to trucks. The so-called eHighway is a 2 km line of electric light rail cables in Sandviken, north of Stockholm, and will run for a trial period of 2 years. This is a step in the right direction in decarbonising freight, but some authorities are urging full electrification for transport, to which freight should not be an exception.

CO2 emissions stemming from road freight are the fastest growing segment of land transport both in the EU and globally. The world’s freight is predominantly transported via trucks. In the EU trucks only make up less than 5% of all road vehicles, they are responsible for 25% of total CO2 emissions.

What makes this worse is that, unlike the US, China and Japan, Europe currently has no fuel efficiency standards for trucks. This has resulted in limited innovation and a stable carbon footprint of trucks over the past two decades.