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An electric vehicle charging point in Stoke-on-Trent, England.
Nathan Stirk | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The U.K. government said Wednesday it wanted to create a net zero transport sector by the year 2050, as it looked set to publish details of a long-awaited decarbonization plan later today.

According to a news release from the government — the full report had not been made available as of lunchtime on Wednesday — a key part of the roadmap is a goal to “phase out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040.”

If realized, this ambition — which is subject to consultation — would complement the government’s previously announced plans to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030 and require, from 2035, all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions.

Among other things, authorities are also targeting a net zero railway network by the middle of this century and want net zero aviation emissions by 2050.

The shift to a zero emission transport sector, the U.K.’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will require significant investment in areas such as charging infrastructure and the development of new systems and technologies.

In a written statement to the U.K. Parliament, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The plan published today is genuinely high ambition – technically and feasibly – for all areas of transport and notes that decarbonisation will rely, in part, on future transport technology, coupled with the necessary behavioural and societal change.”

Among those reacting to the plan were Helen Clarkson, CEO of international non-profit The Climate Group. “There is no world in which the decarbonisation of transport happens overnight,” she said, “so we await further clarity from the Government around the timelines for these plans and encourage them to look beyond ambition to action.”

Industry responds

Wednesday’s announcement drew a mixed response from a wide range of stakeholders within industry. Elizabeth de Jong, Logistics UK’s director of policy, said the government’s plan would “help to provide logistics businesses with confidence and clarity on the steps they must take on the pathway to net zero.”

“Consultation on proposed phase out dates for new diesel HGVs should enable business to move forwards with confidence,” she added.

Elsewhere, the Road Haulage Association said that while it supported the decarbonization of trucks, the government’s plan was “speculative, potentially damaging to business, and short on detail.”

Richard Burnett, the RHA’s chief executive, claimed that the proposal as it stood was “unrealistic.”

“These alternative HGVs don’t yet exist – we don’t know when they will and what they will cost,” he said. “It’s also not clear what any transition will look like – this is blue skies aspiration,” he added.

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Quick Charge Podcast: March 30, 2023

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Quick Charge Podcast: March 30, 2023

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from Electrek. Quick Charge is available now on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn and our RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

New episodes of Quick Charge are recorded Monday through Thursday and again on Saturday. Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast player to guarantee new episodes are delivered as soon as they’re available.

Stories we discuss in this episode (with links):

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Tesla is rumored to be planning a US LFP battery cell factory with CATL

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Tesla is rumored to be planning a US LFP battery cell factory with CATL

Tesla is rumored to be planning a new battery factory to produce LFP cells in the US with China’s CATL, the world’s biggest battery manufacturer.

Over the last few years, CEO Elon Musk has said multiple times that Tesla plans to shift more electric cars to LFP batteries in order to overcome nickel and cobalt supply concerns.

Iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which don’t use nickel or cobalt, are traditionally cheaper and safer, but they offer less energy density, which means less efficiency and a shorter range for electric vehicles.

However, they have improved enough recently that it now makes sense to use cobalt-free batteries in lower-end and shorter-range vehicles. It also frees up the production of battery cells with other, more energy-dense chemistries to produce longer-range vehicles.

The main issue is that LFP battery cell production is currently almost entirely concentrated in China. Therefore, it creates a logistical problem for electric vehicles produced in other markets.

Furthermore, in the US, it creates a problem for automakers trying to take advantage of the new federal tax credit for electric vehicles, which requires that the batteries of electric vehicles be produced in North America in order for buyers to get the full $7,500 credit. It creates a demand to bring LFP production to North America.

Ford has recently announced a plan to partner with CATL, the world’s biggest battery cell manufacturer, to build LFP battery cells at a $3.5 billion factory in Michigan.

Now Tesla is rumored to be doing the same thing. Bloomberg first reported the rumor:

The EV maker discussed plans involving Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. with the White House in recent days, said the people, who asked not to be identified revealing private conversations. Tesla representatives sought clarity on the Inflation Reduction Act rules that the Biden administration is finalizing this week, according to some of the people. Rohan Patel, the company’s senior global director of public policy, was among those involved with the discussions, one of the people said.

The report is light on detail, but it states that Tesla is looking at a similar structure to Ford’s own deal with CATL. Texas has also been rumored to be a possible location for the new factory.

The LFP cells would enable Tesla buyers to get the full tax on the base Model 3, which is about to lose the incentive because its cells currently come from CATL’s Chinese factories.

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Heart Aerospace finds a new partner to develop ES-30 electric plane battery

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Heart Aerospace finds a new partner to develop ES-30 electric plane battery

Swedish electric airplane maker Heart Aerospace is joining forces with BAE Systems to develop a battery system for its ES-30 electric plane.

Heart partners with BAE to develop electric plane battery

Heart Aerospace is paving the way for sustainable electric air travel to become the norm with its leading-edge zero-emission aircraft.

We first covered the company in 2021 after it made waves with its ES-19 electric airplane. The aircraft was designed to carry up to 19 people up to 250 miles (400 km), perfect for short-distance travel.

The innovation was enough to attract an investment from the third largest US air carrier, United Airlines, in July 2021. United committed to purchasing and deploying 100 ES-19 electric aircraft to its fleet as it works to erase emissions from its fleet “without relying on traditional carbon offsets.”

Air Canada, the largest airliner in Canada, invested $5 million into Heart last year in addition to ordering 30 of its newest model, the ES-30.

Heart introduced the ES-30 last year, an electric plane driven by four electric motors and a battery system. The electric aircraft will have a fully-electric zero-emission range of up to 200 km (124 miles) and 30-minute fast charge capabilities. Hybrid reserve turbogenerators allow travel of nearly 500 miles (800 km) at 25 people max.

Heart-electric-plane-battery
Heart Aerospace ES-30 electric plane (Source: Heart Aerospace)

To advance the ES-30 battery system, Heart is partnering with BAE Systems, best known for its leading defense and aerospace solutions. The battery system will be the “first of its kind” for a conventional takeoff and landing regional aircraft, operating with zero emissions and significantly reduced noise.

The collaboration will utilize BAE Systems’ over 25 years of experience electrifying heavy-duty industrial vehicles. Chief operating officer at Heart Aerospace, Sofia Graflund, said:

BAE Systems’ extensive experience in developing batteries for heavy-duty ground applications, and their experience in developing safety critical control systems for aerospace, make them an ideal partner in this important next step for the ES-30 and for the aviation industry.

Heart Aerospace says it already has 230 orders and another 100 options for the ES-30 electric aircraft. In addition, Heart says it has a letter of intent for another 108 planes. The ES-30 is scheduled to enter service in 2028.

Heart Aerospace is aiming to double the all-electric range of its aircraft by the late 2030s with close to 250 miles (400km) range. In addition to offering zero emissions, electric airplanes feature lower costs (electricity compared to jet fuel) and less maintenance due to engine repair.

Electrek’s Take

Although 124 miles may not seem like much, it will be perfect for regional air travel while building a base for the future of zero-emission air travel.

The 30-minute fast charge feature is perfect for turning around flights quickly in between loading passengers and luggage.

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