Road transport is responsible for a significant share of the global GHG emissions. In order to address the increasing trend of road vehicle emissions, due to its heavy reliance on oil, Nordic countries have set ambitious goals and policies for the reduction of road transport GHG emissions. Despite the fact that the latest developments in the passenger car segment are leading towards the progressive electrification of the fleet, the decarbonization of heavy-duty vehicle segment presents significant challenges that are yet to be overcome. This study focuses, on the first part, on the regulatory framework of fuel economy standards of road vehicles, highlighting the absence of a European regulation on fuel efficiency for the heavy-duty sector. Energy efficiency technologies can be grouped mainly in vehicle technologies, driveline and powertrain technologies, and alternative fuels. The fuel efficiency of HDVs can be positively improved at different vehicle levels, but the technology benefit and its economic feasibility are heavily dependent on the vehicle type and the operational cycle considered. The electrification pathway has the potential of reducing the carbon emission to a great extent, but the current battery technologies have proven to be not cost efficient for the heavy vehicles, because of the high purchase price and the low range, related to the battery cost and inferior energy density compared to conventional liquid fuels. A scenario development model has been created in order to estimate and quantify the impact of future developments and emission reduction measures in Finland, Sweden and Norway for the timeframe 2016-2050, with a focus on 2030 results. Two scenarios concerning the powertrain developments of heavy-duty vehicles and buses have been created, a conservative scenario and electric scenario, as well as vehicle efficiency improvements and fuel consumption scenarios. Additional sets of parameters have been estimated as input for the model, such as national transport need and load assumptions. The results highlight the challenges of achieving the national GHG emission reduction targets with the current measures in all three countries. The slow fleet renewal rates and the high forecasted increase of transport need limit the benefits of alternative and more efficient powertrains introduced in the fleet by new vehicles. The heavy-duty transport is expected to maintain its heavy reliance on diesel fuel and hinder the improvements of the light-duty segments. A holistic approach is needed to reduce the GHG emissions from road transport, including more efficient powertrains, higher biofuel shares and progressive electrification.
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