In our book 'The Road to Zero Emissions' we describe the future of the truck and transport industry up to 2050 and beyond. Some key facts to observe from our research can be distilled into 10 key trends.

1,000,000 electric LCVs will be produced every year from 2030 and represent around 40% of the global LCV output, up from less than 2% in 2020.

Short term, the role of hybrid conversions will see the emergence of specialist tier suppliers working closely with OEMs. Examples of this in our book include the emergence of UK company Electra and Dutch convertor EMOSS.

Zero-emission buses will be electric and hydrogen powered. Buses accommodate fuel storage requirements and re-fuelling demands effectively.

Hydrogen needs to witness a dramatic fall in cost to be competitive with diesel. Current cost per kilo is $12 to $15 (£9 to £11) and needs to be below $3 per kilo to meet operational cost goals. Doubts remain for adoption by heavy trucks.

Lithium will be superseded by solid state battery technology from 2025. John Goodenough, the American professor credited as the inventor of lithium-ion battery technology and awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2019, is also the man behind the development of solid state battery technology. Solid state will be less dependent on critical rare earth materials, especially cobalt, and the product will be lighter, faster charging, cheaper and less prone to combustion. The goal of a sub $100 per kWh cost target will be reached by solid state, and this compares favourably with the cost of $200 per kWh for lithium-ion today.

The world is going to need 60 to 100 battery manufacturing 'gigafactories' to sustain the future demand for EVs. The UK has zero investment as of 2020 in such a factory. If the UK fails to generate a minimum of three gigafactories capable of generating up to 30 GWh capacity each the threat to over 200,000 jobs in the vehicle manufacturing industry are at risk.

Those automotive manufacturers that establish public/private partnerships to develop energy innovation hubs on the sites of redundant vehicle manufacturing plant will be true leaders of change. The creation of freight ports to integrate long-haul intercity with last mile urban intracity freight will enable truck manufacturers to seal large volume government and municipal contracts.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change signed by nearly every nation in the world focused attention on the absence of the USA and threatened a carbon tax on products from the USA by the EU. Since the change in the US administration the idea of a carbon tax on non-compliant vehicles remains a fiscal option.

Diesel will remain the fuel of choice for 70% of long-haul global freight movement. The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts just a 3 million per day barrel of oil drop in demand from 17 million to 14 million per day. Diesel still has a place in the market. So do drivers.

Do not eliminate the driver experience from the product. reports of the death of diesel have been greatly exaggerated. Clean diesel will still have a future.


The digital industrial revolution has started and will produce many new businesses that will challenge the traditional manufacturing bases of many sectors.

The automotive, transport and logistics sectors will be subject to significant disruption and there will be a multiplicity of research projects that could help industry develop new products and services.

The development of a standard integrated infrastructure platform that enables improved digital connectivity along the traditional supply chains will be one of the first steps.

At present there are too many operating systems that need to be rationalised if efficiency and productivity are to be improved.

Database management will also be a key skill and together with the use artificial intelligence will see the development of a whole new set of employment possibilities.

This in turn will need the education authorities to examine what changes are required in standard and higher education in order to produce the quality of candidates for future employment.

There are many challenges but many great opportunities and the real test will be how industry, governments and educators work together to produce a sustainable platform for future economic growth and environmental responsibility.

Dennis Evans and Des Evans OBE