Towards sustainability with a load of doubts and questions
From 2050 heavy vehicles running on fossil fuels will be banned. This is what the EU has planned, although the request leaves us with a bunch of question marks in mind.
We know now that starting in 2035, firms will progressively need to implement more and more eco-friendly vehicles every 5 years, what is unclear is how. Technically, companies could buy traditional means of transportation up to 2049 and use them for the years to come, so the transition will not necessarily happen until much later.
Furthermore, it is hard to grasp what kind of investments will be required for the transition. Are electric engines ready in terms of efficiency and performance when it comes to long routes? Will synthetic fuels be 100% clean?
Electric vehicles and doubts
The switch to electric engines will undoubtedly affect the logistics industry, and we wonder if potential obstacles will be taken into account. Some of these include:
- the cost of electric vehicles;
- how far they can travel. Diesel engines can now get a truck as far as 1500/2000 km with a 44 tons load, will electric engines perform in the same fashion?
- time to recharge and whether they will force drivers to stop for long hours;
- recharge stations distribution and whether there will be enough en route.
Forcing the implementation of electric engines will also increase the European market dependency on the US and China, known batteries manufacturers with unrivaled know-how of electrification processes and access to a huge quantity of raw materials.
Moreover, only the EU will ask its firms to comply with its policies on sustainability, whereas the States and China will keep using their polluting vehicles.
Synthetic fuels: a viable solution?
A recent study led by the European Council analyzed the use of synthetic fuels for existing vehicles, and although they seem to be a viable solution, we are yet to be certain of the outcomes.
Biofuel utilized on current means of transportation grants good performances and is collected from industrial waste, making it a sustainable and likely cheap option. Synthetic fuels, on the other hand, would require chemical processing, and we cannot know for a fact if their manufacturing will be sustainable. We wonder if the EU has considered other sources of clean energy, such as hydrogen or LNG (Liquified Natural Gas).
As of today, we must have faith in science and its ability to develop new solutions, hoping it will provide feasible alternatives that can work for internal combustion engines, currently widespread across Europe. We all know these engines inside out, alongside their proven reliability.
Due to EU proposals, a considerable number of logistics firms, if not most of them, will have to rethink their organization at a structural level and reassess costs and investments while risking lower productivity. This will inevitably impact our economies on a national level, causing higher costs across the whole supply chain which in turn will affect the price of the end product.
These regulations risk causing a lot of dissatisfaction in our line of work and beyond it, let alone a shared feeling of imposition towards a transition lacking guidelines and an explicit course of action.
When the path is so convoluted, asking for directions is a priority. Now more than ever, everyone working in logistics needs support in finding the right avenue, one that would lead to fewer doubts and uncertainties.