Steve Miller, CEO of Dawsongroup DSC_4519

Heavy vehicle manufacturers will not be ready to end the sale of new diesel HGVs by 2040 and the government must relax its timetable, according to CV leaser Dawsongroup.

Its chief executive Steve Miller (pictured) said the government did not understand the industry and that “a shot of reality” was needed to enable road haulage to transform to cleaner alternatives.

He said: “I don't see that the manufacturers will be ready on the big vehicles.

“I think ministers have got to roll it back. I think there's no alternative but to give a bit more time.”

Miller said car buyers already had dozens of choices of zero-emission vehicles, but that hauliers were not so lucky: “Right now, if we’re talking electric trucks, the simple fact is they have too limited a range, and the weight of the batteries needed even for these reduced operating distances will render payloads too small to deliver the needs of customers at a sensible rate.

Read more

“UK operators are currently in a no-win situation, and the government, while undoubtedly well-meaning in its drive to decarbonisation, just does not understand the industry and the complexities it faces in simply keeping UK plc moving.”

Miller is not the first to question the ambitious timetable. Last year, Caroline Moody, MD at Moody Logistics and Storage, described the 2040 deadline as “short-sighted” and, after the DfT announced that new diesel trucks under 26-tonnes would be phased out from 2035, the BVRLA said the barriers were “huge”.

Miller also questioned the recharging times for HGVs and said it needed to be comparable to current fossil fuel refuelling times.

He also warned that operators under pressure as the deadline loomed could be forced to sell old diesel HGVs to countries with less stringent regulations, which would just shift the problem elsewhere.