The heads of Europe’s largest truckmakers are set to announce plans to halt the sale of diesel vehicles by 2040, a decade earlier than originally planned.

Daimler, Scania, MAN, Volvo, DAF, Iveco and Ford have formed an alliance and signed a pledge to phase out traditional combustion engines and focus on hydrogen, battery technology and clean fuels.

The pledge also calls for widespread investment in energy grids and a higher tax on carbon across Europe to help drive the change.

The industry will spend around €50bn-€100bn on new technologies, Scania chief executive Henrik Henriksson told the Financial Times, ahead of the pledge

The truckmakers, along with the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), will work with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to find the best alternative technologies to replace diesel engines.

“If we can make this happen, we need to work all together,” Henriksson, who also chairs ACEA’s commercial vehicle board, told the FT.

Truck makers are ramping up their commitment to switching vehicle technology in the face of increasing pressure from the EU which plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 5% by the end of the decade.

In addition, the UK is set to consult on trying to end the use of diesel lorries and will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars including hybrids by 2035.

Henriksson said: “There is no silver bullet; it won’t be that one technology will rule everything, there will be parallel technologies over time.

“They will come at different paces, but if we sit and wait for the perfect technology to emerge we will burn the planet.”

He added: “The basic grid needs to be concentrated so that we can charge at depots and at highways.

“That is not a big investment, but that needs to happen.”

The group is also calling for a higher carbon tax in the EU, to disincentivise investments into fossil fuel technology.

Henriksson said: “If politicians continue to subsidise fossil fuels, it will be very difficult for us, we need to change behaviour of our customers, and of our customers’ customers.”

He added: “There are pretty hardcore commitments in this, we are sticking out our neck and saying quite a few things we haven’t in the past.”