Reflecting on the Road Transport Expo: Zero Emission HGVs

Call 0345 872 6666

Reflecting on the Road Transport Expo: Zero Emission HGVs

In October 2023, the government announced that £200 million in government funding would be invested in 4 innovative green projects to roll out up to 370 zero emission HGVs and help set road freight on the path towards net zero.

Last month at the Road Transport Expo, there was a special two-hour segment of the conference dedicated to a progress update from the UK’s Department for Transport funded Zero Emission HGV and Infrastructure Demonstrator (ZEHID) programme, bringing all 4 green projects on stage for the first time in public.

During the conference, the panel gave the audience an in-depth progress report on ZEHID, with presentations from leaders for all four projects taking part in the groundbreaking initiative.

Electric Freightway

Electric Freightway is the largest of the ZEHID programmes which is being led by electric charging installation company Gridserve.

During the conference at the Road Transport Expo, Sam Clarke, Chief Vehicle Officer of Gridserve confirmed that they expect to put circa 140 zero emission trucks on the road (they have several on the road already) and 220 high powered chargers at over 30 public and private sites around the UK.

Turning to Gridserve’s infrastructure, Clarke explained that they are focusing on how they can deliver really high-powered charging, so that when a vehicle stops for a driver to take their legally required 45-minute break, the vehicle can fill up with enough energy to reach its next destination, removing the need for a bigger battery and decreased load capacity, so the same amount of freight can be transported.

eFreight 2030

eFreight is led by EV charging developer Voltempo. The project plans to roll out 35 of Voltempo’s megawatt charging hubs across the country, each one operating up to 6 bays, which should be able to charge a fleet of 100 HGVs.

Michael Boxwell, Project Director of eFreight 2030 has confirmed “By early 2026, we will have 11 fleets deploying electric HGVs and a nationwide HGV charging network using British-built chargers. Each charge hub will provide at least 6 charge bays and 1,000kW charging. This demonstration programme combined with world-class infrastructure will give fleet operators confidence they can deploy electric HGVs at scale”.


HyHAUL, led by green hydrogen energy solutions provider Protium, are focusing exclusively on delivering a hydrogen fuelling infrastructure and trialling hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks.

During the conference, David Langford, Protium Head of Delivery said that HyHAUL plans to open at least three public refuelling stations to power an initial fleet of 30 hydrogen fuel cell HGVs, which will begin operating along the M4 corridor by 2026. By 2030, HyHAUL hope to have 300 trucks on the road.

Langford highlighted the benefits of hydrogen in terms of range and recharge time, pointing out that the 42-tonne hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks on the trial will be able to deliver a 435-mile range with refuelling time of less than 20 minutes. Interestingly, Langford confirmed that the lease price of the HGVs will also be comparable to their diesel equivalents.


Zen Freight aims to put 62 battery electric and 16 hydrogen trucks on the road as part of the project, comparing the performance of these vehicles against their diesel equivalents with a number of leading fleet operators. Under the terms of the funding, the vehicles will need to be on the road by the end of 2026 and be in operation for the following five years gathering data and operational earnings.

Positive change

The government has confirmed that the funding provided is not just there to put zero emission vehicles in the easy parts of fleet operation - it is to prove zero emission HGVs can replace diesel HGVs and to provide crucial infrastructure to help the haulage sector decarbonise.

The funding will help operators such as popular grocery companies Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer to lower their transport emissions while protecting them from rising delivery costs associated with changing petrol and diesel prices. This could help prevent price hikes across supermarkets, allowing people to save money on food and groceries to help with the cost of living.  

With the newly appointed Labour government, it will be interesting to see what steps are taken next in relation to zero emission HGVs.

talk to us

If you do require any advice in relation to your obligations as an operator when it comes to reducing your vehicles’ emissions, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our Commercial Road Transport team. You can contact the team by calling 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

Did you find this post interesting? Share it on:

Related Posts