Many believe that electric vehicles are the ultimate solution for cleaning up transport. However, honest accounting of CO2 emissions taking into account the production of the vehicle and the CO2 footprint of the power used gives methane-fuelled vehicles a very significant edge. If you use bio-LNG, batteries are dead in the water. Methane fuelled vehicles are the cleanest technologically mature vehicles on the road today. And there is still a huge lot of technological innovation potential that has never been exploited hidden in the methane engine.
Mobility must fulfill two objectives today. It shall be clean and it shall be affordable. Today’s environmental legislation largely ignores economical considerations. Diesel cannot be the backbone of a healthy transport industry anymore. It’s a fuel that will expire as a solution for our fuelling needs – not only for professionals but also in the minds of the people. The question is not IF but rather WHEN.
This creates a dilemma for transport. They can evaluate risks they know, assess them, give them a value and somehow factor them into their economic equation. However, how does anyone evaluate the risk of buying a diesel truck tomorrow and finding himself unable to access vast parts of the city he serves due to interdiction zones one year later?
Most people just know E-Vehicles as an alternative to diesel. Trucking with electricity is feasible on very short routes and it’s very expensive in any case. Most projects are laboratory hogs. Range issues also require very different operational profiles for such vehicles as they must be recharged frequently. Again, this costs money and is not without risks. We did not yet talk about the very high CAPEX for such vehicles.
LNG vehicles are as clean and climate-friendly as an E-Vehicle but they are also much more comfortable to work with, more economical and cost just a sliver more than a diesel. Yes, you read right. LNG trucks are as clean as Elon Musk’s best vehicles but they are safer, cheaper and much more flexible in use. If you include the total lifetime emissions of an E-Truck, it does not stand a chance against an LNG truck fuelled up with fossil LNG. We are not even talking about one that runs on bio-LNG. E-Vehicles carry an 8-year backpack of CO2 emissions when they are produced. If the battery fails earlier and must be replaced, the 8 years start anew.
With an LNG vehicle, you just don’t care about diesel interdiction zones. Even if current emissions rules are tightened again, you will be fine. With LNG you pass the most stringent tests – no cheating required.