Heavy Trucks

Today Canada’s heavy trucking industry is entirely dependent on the burning of diesel fuel. Replacing diesel with low-carbon technologies still in development like hydrogen fuel cell, battery electric or catenary trucks could address GHG emissions as well as eliminating conventional air pollutants.

of Canada’s emissions (not including emissions from diesel production)

Priorities for Action

  1. Policy supports for: vehicle development (optimizing fuel cell and electric motors for heavy duty road vehicles); hydrogen production (from methane with CCS, and by electrolysis from renewables); building out fueling infrastructure along major transport corridors
  2. These can include R&D subsidies, support for fleet conversions and terminals, public procurement policies, zero emission vehicle standards, development of standards and safety rules, and cross-jurisdictional coordination

The Opportunity

At present manufacturers and fleet managers face limited incentives to move away from diesel trucks. Vehicles are still at an early production phase, purchasing costs are high, and fueling infrastructure is absent. Coordinated action and multiple policy initiatives will be required to drive heavy road transport beyond this nascent phase.

Today’s Challenges

Up-front costs of vehicles; weight of batteries; hydrogen fuel production and/or infrastructure; uncertain investment environment

Future Challenges

Managing grid burden and/or stepwise development of hydrogen production and consumption; integration with connected and autonomous vehicle technologies; transitioning to zero emission hydrogen (either by ensuring offset availability or shifting entirely to production from net zero electricity)

Indicators of progress

Percent of zero-emission vehicle sales; scale of infrastructure build out; value added in zero-emission vehicle value chain; carbon intensity of grid or hydrogen used for heavy vehicles

Our Net Zero Decision Support Tool envisions a transformational level of change across eight key pathways: