DAF Trucks is lagging "far behind" its competitors in its transition to 100% zero-emission sales, according to a new global ranking compiled by environmental group Transport & Environment (T&E).

DAF, whose trucks are made by Leyland in the UK, finishes near the bottom of the ranking as the only EU manufacturer without a public 2030 sales target for zero emissions trucks, and scores the lowest on building out a battery value chain, T&E's research reveals.

The report, dubbed Ready or Not - who are the front runners in the race to clean up trucks?, is warning that this has bleak implications for the UK industry’s ability to remain competitive as both the UK and Europe move to phase out diesel by the 2030s.

DAF has struggled with its battery supply, the report says, warning that this situation could be further exacerbated when higher local content rules under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement come into effect in January 2024.

The port also reveals that three European truckmakers, along with Tesla and BYD, dominate the ranking, with Mercedes-Benz Trucks, Scania and MAN all aiming to sell only electric or hydrogen trucks by 2040.

Scania leads the ranks in terms of truckmakers’ climate ambition and strategies. While it only has a target of 50% of its sales to be electric or hydrogen in 2030, it has a very strong industrial strategy.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks, in second place, aims for 60% of its sales to be zero-emission vehicles in 2030. However, the report notes there’s a gap between its announcements and its industrial plans. The company has a weaker battery strategy and has yet to secure a supply of battery raw materials.

But four major European truck manufacturers - DAF, Man, Renault and Volvo - have fallen well behind their competitors and risk losing market share to the American and Chinese challengers, the report says.

In fourth place globally, MAN plans a smaller line-up of electric models and has a weaker 2030 zero-emission goal, it adds.

Read more

Volvo Trucks, the current market leader in zero-emission truck sales in Europe and the US, finishes only mid-table. The report says that despite its ambitious public commitment to reach 70% zero-emission sales by 2030, the company lacks a 100% zero-emission sales target and is investing in gas and biofuels – which still emit CO2.

Trailing behind, Renault Trucks aims for half of its sales to be zero emissions by 2030 but the research says it too is hedging on gas and biofuels.

IVECO, which lacks a long-term 100% zero-emission target, the report notes, pointing out the manufacturer has invested little in battery supply chain and charging network, ranks at the bottom with DAF.

The report warns that European truck manufacturers like DAF face stiff competition from European and international competitors such as Tesla and BYD, which have already proven their ability to rapidly scale up zero-emission manufacturing in the cars market. They have also built strong battery supply chains including securing supplies of raw materials.

It points to California’s 2036 diesel truck sales ban and the US Inflation Reduction Act which the report says could lead to truckmakers prioritising vehicle and battery production investments in America. This might result in truckmakers' current voluntary commitments being changed or delayed, it adds.

Richard Hebditch, UK director at T&E UK, said: “The simple fact is the UK needs to level up its approach to producing zero emission trucks. Sales of new diesel trucks will effectively end in the UK, EU and large shares of the US in the 2030s.

"Chinese and American new entrants are coming for their piece of the cake; the UK government can help defend our industry’s future by setting interim targets towards its 100% zero-emission sales target for 2035 and making a plan to support the essential charging infrastructure.”

In May, T&E UK launched a report called HGVs on the road to net zero outlining how electric battery trucks can decarbonise Great Britain’s road freight. The report made a number of recommendations including:
• Strengthening the phase-out dates policy by introducing interim ZEV mandates.
• Supporting supply chain development for battery electric trucks.
• Providing more effective vehicle acquisition incentives.
• Supporting the roll-out of private charging infrastructure for depot-based fleets.
• Lowering the early-years risks to public truck charging infrastructure providers.
• Funding truck public charging at major warehouses and developing planning policies to further incentivise charging infrastructure at logistics hubs.
• Considering changes to maximum vehicle weight and length regulations.
• Reviewing and amending, where appropriate, driver hours regulations and rest stops.