Fifteen countries have agreed to work together toward 100% zero-emission new truck and bus sales by 2040. Under the new Global Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles (ZE-MHDVs), Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Wales are setting an interim goal of 30% zero-emission new vehicle sales by 2030.

In a coordinated effort, subnational governments—such as Québec (Canada), and Telengana (India)—as well as top manufacturers and fleets such as Scania, DHL, and Heineken are endorsing the MOU and agreeing to work collaboratively toward the same 2030 and 2040 goals.

Participants in this coordinated global effort agree that zero-emission trucks and buses are essential to reducing transport emissions, mitigating climate change, improving air quality, reducing the use of fossil fuels and energy costs.

CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program and campaign (Drive to Zero) and the government of the Netherlands are the organizing bodies of the new MOU plus endorsement—a collective action called the Global Agreement on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses.

The effort is a headline announcement at COP26’s “Transport Day” in Glasgow. In parallel, host nation the United Kingdom—with the support of the Climate Group—is announcing the COP26 declaration on zero-emission cars and vans, a landmark global agreement, which brings together national governments, states, regions, cities, vehicle manufacturers businesses, investors and civil society all committed to working towards 100% zero-emission car and van sales by 2035 in leading markets, and no later than 2040 globally.

The transition to 100% zero-emission technologies for trucks and buses will require massive investments in battery and electric component manufacturing and charging infrastructure as well as cross-collaboration between countries and the public and private sector.

The Global Agreement on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses builds on previous action and ambition from key government leaders, including (but not limited to) California and the Netherlands. California recently adopted its Advanced Clean Truck rule that establishes firm sales targets for zero-emission trucks that formed the basis of the MOU ambition. Across the Netherlands, cities will be implementing zero-emission zones for freight with effect from 2025, in pursuit of emission-free deliveries. Grants will be available to help entrepreneurs switch to clean delivery vans or trucks.

Active discussions are being held with other countries that have not yet signed the MOU. Current MOU signatories represent the first group of countries aligned around the same target for zero-emission trucks and buses.

The ambition of the MOU is grounded in real-world data on model availability and technology readiness. Historically seen as a challenging segment to electrify, there are currently more than 570 models of zero-emission trucks and buses on the market supporting a diversity of transport needs today.

The Dutch Ministry for the Environment and CALSTART worked together to coordinate the Global Agreement on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses. As they oversee the MOU implementation and track the progress of countries adopting and implementing new ZE-MHDV policies and programs, they will continue to recruit new countries and private sector endorsements.

Drive to Zero is a program of clean transportation accelerator CALSTART and a campaign of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) under the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI). The Dutch Minister for Infrastructure and Water Management has been Chair of the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance (TDA), until COP26. California is the new chair.