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To minimize the negative impact of freight transport on the environment, the European Parliament has proposed the amendment of Council Directive 96/53/EC, which mainly defines the maximum permitted dimensions and weights of certain road vehicles and vehicle combinations. The Parliament’s first reading took place on 12 March 2024 and is intended to speed up the decarbonization of certain segments of heavy goods transport.

The new directive underlines in particular the importance of developing and promoting zero-emission drive systems (e.g. vehicles powered by fuel cells or hydrogen; electric lorries). For example, fuel-cell-powered lorries would need a larger vehicle dimension to achieve similar ranges as diesel trucks. One of the planned measures to equalize emission-free vehicles is to increase the maximum permissible axle weight of a double axle by 1 tonne for climate-neutral vehicles. For vehicle combinations with zero-emission trailers, it is planned to increase the maximum authorized weight by up to 2 tonnes.

Further planned changes to the law can be found in the table at the end of the European Parliament’s legislative resolution document. Adjustments may still be made by the Council of the EU before the Parliament votes on the final adoption of the directive in a second reading.


Source: DIHK (German)