CO2 Standards for Heavy Duty Vehicles

What is the CO2 standards regulation for heavy-duty vehicles and its purpose? 

On 14 February 2023, the European Commission published its proposal for revision of the CO2 Standards Regulation for Heavy Duty Vehicles.

The draft legislation aims to decarbonise commercial road transport and covers trucks (above 5 tonnes), city buses and long-distance buses (above 7.5 tonnes) as well as trailers (an unpowered vehicle towed by a motor vehicle).

Specific reduction standards have been proposed for almost all new HDVs with certified CO2 emissions, compared to 2019 levels, specifically:


• 45% from 1 January 2030
• 65% from 1 January 2035
• 90% from 1 January 2040 onwards


The Commission also proposes to make all new city buses zero-emission as of 2030 and a review of the Regulation in 2028.

What is at stake with the Commission’s proposal?

To decarbonise logistics, the EU needs affordable, climate-neutral solutions. We appreciate maintaining technology diversity by not setting a phase-out mandate, however, the increase in 2030 and 2035 targets is very challenging. Only four years ago the 2030 target was set, which was already ambitious, and this target should be fixed.

Benjamin Krieger

CLEPA Secretary General

CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, supports the Paris Agreement and the EU Green Deal objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Automotive suppliers stand ready to contribute to a reliable, technology-open, and ambitious regulatory framework to achieve these objectives.

As an enabler of smart, safe and sustainable mobility, CLEPA is a key stakeholder in the automotive value chain and supports the review of the framework for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in the European Union.

Freight transport is a B2B market driven by demand, which encompasses a broad range of use-cases and operator needs, requiring a wide array of affordable clean technology options. Currently, the European fleet is made of 6.2 million medium and trucks, and 684,285 buses.

The new legislation should account for the maturity and feasibility of technologies and provide a sufficient lead time for changes to be introduced. In this regard, a life cycle approach is essential to achieve overall atmospheric CO2 goals effectively, with one option being a mechanism to account for the contribution of low-carbon and carbon-neutral fuels.

Moreover, the introduction of a more ambitious 2030 target and 2035 targets necessitate higher Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) volumes, leading to additional uncertainty in fulfilling the enabling conditions and requiring far stronger policy intervention as well as further reduction in technology costs. In particular, the rollout of a dense network of charging and refuelling points, availability of renewable fuels, hydrogen, and electricity and raw materials supply chain are all key requisites for the success of the transition.

CLEPA calls on the EU Institutions:
• To not increase the current 30% target in 2030
• To consider a reasonable trajectory towards 2035
• To include a comprehensive approach to measuring the actual carbon footprint of a vehicle, based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)
• To secure all enabling conditions will be in place in a timely manner
• To consider sustainable renewable fuels for compliance in the Regulation

Freight sector and mobility transition

6.2 million
of medium and heavy commercial vehicles in Europe
buses made the current Europen fleet
6.8 million
is the bloc needs of new charging stations by 2030 to power the green transition
15 and 13 years 
is respectively the average age of trucks and buses in Europe
6 EU countries 
have less than 1 charger per 100km of road