Decarbonizing road transport by 2050: Accelerating the global transition to zero-emission vehicles

Cars, vans, buses, and trucks account for 21% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Under currently adopted policies, fleetwide CO2 emissions are projected to continue rising through 2050. Transitioning the global vehicle fleet to zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) technologies is crucial to decarbonizing road transport and meeting climate goals. The governments of the ZEV Transition Council (ZEVTC) account for about half of new vehicle sales and include some of the world’s most important centers of automotive design and manufacturing as well as some of the largest donors of development assistance. These governments have committed to accelerating the global ZEV transition. Recent policy advances made by ZEVTC governments will substantially reduce emissions, but not by enough to meet global climate goals. For this, the ZEVTC needs a truly global approach. This paper makes recommendations on how ZEVTC governments can work together to accelerate such a global transition to zero-emission vehicles. In order to arrive at these suggestions, this briefing summarizes the state of the ZEV market and policies; quantifies benefits of recent policy developments by ZEVTC governments; analyzes opportunities and barriers in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs); and assesses the additional mitigation potential and need under an accelerated global ZEV transition.