Europe witnesses remarkable surge in popularity of electric trucks and buses, with sales figures painting an impressive picture

Europe witnesses remarkable surge in popularity of electric trucks and buses, with sales figures painting an impressive picture

Europe witnesses remarkable surge in popularity of electric trucks and buses, with sales figures painting an impressive picture.

According to a recent report from the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT), the proportion of electric trucks and buses in Europe's market is rapidly increasing.

In 2023, the ICCT reported that the number of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles sold in Europe reached 11,000, a significant increase from the 5,000 sold in the previous year. Furthermore, electric buses and coaches accounted for 18% of total sales in the EU in 2023. The organization also noted that 5% of light and medium trucks and 1% of heavy trucks were electric during that year. Although electric trucks currently have a small overall market share, the ICCT report reveals that their market presence is increasing quickly. Specifically, electric heavy trucks have seen their market share triple from 0.3% to 0.9% within a span of 12 months.


In the last quarter of 2023, European cities saw a significant surge in the adoption of electric buses, with 43% of all new city buses sold being fully electric, a substantial increase from less than 30% in 2022, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Additionally, the market share of electric buses in overall bus sales, including longer haul interurban coaches, has grown from 4% in 2019 to 22% in Q4-2023, representing a five-fold increase in just five years.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has furnished an intriguing analysis of the city bus market share by European Union member states, offering a detailed examination of which countries are making significant strides in electrifying their bus fleets.

In 2023, the city bus market in Luxembourg, Ireland, and Denmark has transitioned entirely to fully electric buses, with the Netherlands following closely behind at 98%. This shift away from diesel buses means that these countries are making significant progress in reducing the harmful health impacts of diesel exhaust pollution on their citizens.

The nations of Germany, Austria, and Belgium are falling behind in terms of environmental progress, as they continue to rely heavily on diesel buses, which account for 75% of new bus sales. This dependence on diesel technology means that their citizens will be exposed to harmful pollution for an extended period, putting their health at risk.

Although the percentage of city buses that are electrified in Germany, Austria, and Belgium falls short of European averages, they are significantly higher compared to Australia.

A study by The Australia Institute in 2022 revealed that due to inadequate state government efforts, only a minuscule portion (0.2%) of Australia's buses run on electricity, exposing millions of commuters to harmful diesel fumes on a daily basis at numerous bus stops across the country.

The harmful emissions released by buses running on diesel fuel in Australian urban areas have a significant negative effect on the health and welfare of numerous Australian residents.A recent research conducted in Canada revealed that exposure to diesel pollution can quickly impair human brain function. Similarly, a study carried out by Melbourne University in Australia showed that vehicle emissions lead to approximately 11,000 premature deaths annually. Additionally, it causes more than 12,000 hospitalizations for cardiovascular issues, around 66,000 active cases of asthma, and nearly 7,000 hospitalizations for respiratory problems each year.

Recent studies indicate that the health effects of traffic noise from petrol and diesel vehicles go beyond just air pollution. A significant study conducted in March last year revealed a correlation between high levels of traffic noise and increased risks of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. This noise pollution can be notably reduced by switching to electric buses.

In 2023, the European market share for fully electric light and medium trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 3.5 to 12 tonnes was similar to the Australian market share for electric passenger vehicles. Last year, 6% of all light and medium truck sales in Europe were fully electric, a significant increase from the 2.5% market share in 2022.

According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), there has been a substantial rise in the sales of electric light and medium trucks in 2023, with a year-on-year increase of 200%. Notably, the Ford E-Transit has emerged as the front-runner in zero-emissions sales within this category.

Share of light and medium trucks by powertrain

The ICCT report indicates that electric heavy trucks weighing over 12 tonnes have experienced significant growth, with sales increasing from 820 in 2022 to 2,600 in 2023, despite starting from a low market share of 1%.

Electric light and medium trucks

According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Volvo Group, which includes Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks, was responsible for producing 70% of all zero-emission heavy trucks in 2023. Notably, Volvo has doubled its production of electric heavy trucks for the European market compared to conventional diesel trucks. With its recent sale of electric trucks in Australia, Volvo is solidifying its position as a global leader in the production of electric heavy trucks.

Share of heavy trucks by powertrain

A different study discovered that electric trucks will reach price equality with diesel trucks in their category sooner than expected because of decreasing battery costs, despite already having lower operating expenses.

Europe is leading the way in the electrification of heavy vehicles, and the benefits will be significant. Not only will there be a substantial decrease in air and noise pollution, but the cost of freight will also be significantly reduced, all while helping to decarbonize the industry. It's time for Australia to join the movement and reap these rewards.

Daniel Bleakley  the writer for is a proponent of clean technology with a multifaceted background that includes engineering, business, and a passion for eco-friendly innovation. His areas of expertise include electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, efficient manufacturing processes, and policy-making that supports a sustainable future.


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Volta Automotive Ltd which imports and sells Electric Vehicles and Hybrids Car dealers New Zealand and Australia can list and sell on our website

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