About the project

Road freight vehicles are key economy enablers, they are employed for the movements of goods, such as food, electronics or raw material. Today’s road freight vehicles are mainly fuelled with die­sel and use a significant fraction of the global fossil oil production. Without further policy efforts, oil demand from road freight vehicles is projected to increase considerably. Measures to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from road freight vehicles include the use of renewable fuels, electrifica­tion and the use of fuel cells. All of these alternatives seem viable for medium size distribution trucks, but for heavy duty long-haul trucks the possible alternatives to diesel are less clear.

Life cycle assessment (LCA) can be an important tool to guide policymakers and the direction of technology development. However, from the studies examined in this work, it was recognized that available LCA studies on road freight vehicles do not sufficiently support decision making. Most studies are limited, and therefore, results from different studies are difficult to compare and lead to different recommendations. Problems identified in present studies are the following:

  1. there is only a limited number of available reports on trucks
  2. the definition of the vehicle is unclear
  3. different ap­proaches and system boundaries are applied
  4. studies are focusing on the present situation and do not include future considerations.

Furthermore, available studies are typically limited by not includ­ing equipment life cycle, end of life, analysis of resource depletion and cost.

Since there is no simple solution to lower GHG emissions from heavy duty transport it seems obvious that more LCA studies should focus on this sector. Such studies should be complete and well-defined LCAs also including equipment life cycle and end of life. In addition, it is suggested that the analysis include availability of resources as well as incorporate costs. Finally, to bet­ter support decision making, also future developments of technologies and society needs to be con­sidered. Building long-term scenarios with zero net GHG emissions and where all material is recycled is particularly important to obtain fully sustainable heavy duty transport solutions.


Ingemar Magnusson, Volvo GTT


Isabel Cañete Vela and Henrik Thunman, Chalmers // Per Hanarp, Volvo GTT

Time plan
May - November 2017

Total project cost
250 000 SEK

The f3 partners and Volvo