Pathways to transport’s future
Countdown for commercial transport to be fossil-free by 2050
A FOSSIL-FREE COMMERCIAL transport system in the timeframe of the Paris Agreement target is not only possible, but also financially attractive from a societal perspective. This is the key conclusion of a study initiated by Scania.
“Reaching zero CO2 emissions in our sector in the timeframe of the Paris Agreement is attainable but will call for change at an unprecedented high speed, and for serious and joint private and public sector commitment,” Scania president and CEO Henrik Henriksson says.
Scania says a comprehensive analysis, undertaken and reviewed by an external academic panel, shows that several pathways can be pursued to phase out carbon emissions. Tracing the road to zero emissions by 2050 through a back-cast modelling approach, the analysis shows the viability of concurrent pathways. The research covers three transport segments: long haulage, distribution and city bus, and four countries: Sweden, Germany, China and the US.
“We can achieve more than 20 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions by working even smarter in the current transport systems, for example through improved routing and better load management,” Henriksson says. “We see several fuel and powertrain pathways to a fossil-free future. Biofuels offer the fastest CO2 emissions reductions and electrification is the most cost-effective.”
New technologies can take a long time to achieve wide adoption, as the existing stock of vehicles turns over slowly. To be fossil-free by 2050 therefore requires changes at scale already by 2025, including not only new technologies but also new infrastructure.
Further, the need to achieve an average global growth rate of new fossil-free powertrain technologies of at least 5 to 10 percentage points per year should reach full sales penetration by 2040. To reach this goal, the transport sector and adjacent industries must initiate change rapidly and immediately.
Although the study noted differences in the coming 15 years, the pathways are relatively similar over time and across the varying markets. Regardless of pathway, or if it will be a mix where multiple powertrain technologies and infrastructures coexist, they require not only an unprecedented rate of technological change but also that of adjacent industries to decarbonise.
Starting immediately, funding mechanisms and firm commitments must be made available for large-scale technological and supporting infrastructure development. The energy system, globally, must in parallel phase out fossil-fuel dependency. Equally decisive is that transport buyers continue to increase the demand for fossil-free supply and delivery services.
“We see several fuel and powertrain pathways to a fossil-free future”
Scania CEO Henrik Henriksson