Four projects will share the £200 million ZERFD programme funding as UK Government finally announces the programme go-live

The UK Government has announced £200 million of funding to four projects under the zero emission road freight demonstration (ZERFD) programme. The project will support the roll-out of 370 zero emission trucks and 57 charging and refuelling sites across the country. As well as kick-starting the take up of zero emission vehicles and infrastructure, the programme aims to explore the operational barriers which need to be overcome in order to facilitate the widespread deployment of carbon zero vehicles in the run up to the Government’s end of sale dates for diesel trucks in 2035 and 2040.


Renault Trucks will be supplying battery electric trucks to the demonstration

Source: Department for Transport

Both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been funded across the four projects which have been successful in their bids. DAF, Renault, Volvo and Scania have all been cited in the funding announcement as vehicle suppliers to the projects.

The four projects where the funding has been allocated: 

  • Gridserve, who will use its Project Electric Freightway to demonstrate up to 140 battery electric HGVs that will be provided by DAF and Volvo, alongside up to 220 chargers, 70% of which will be open-access.
  • Project Zero Emission North (ZEN) Freight, will demonstrate up to 70 battery electric and 30 Hydrogen fuel HGVs. Eddie Stobart and Royal Mail are just two of the operators participating in this scheme.
  • Voltempo, whose eFREIGHT 2030 project will demonstrate up to 100 battery electric HGVs in partnership with Renault Trucks, Scania and DAF. Marks and Spencer and Menzies Distribution are some of the operators confirmed to be participating.
  • Hydrogen Aggregated Logistics (HyHAUL), led by Protium, which will deploy around 30 hydrogen fuel cell HGVs onto the M4. Through Department for Transport funding, the HGV fleet will be serviced by one fixed hydrogen refuelling station and mobile refuelling in two other locations. The project has longer term ambitions to implement two additional permanent hydrogen refuelling stations in Magor and Bridgend, alongside additional hydrogen conversion projects along the M4.  

The ZERFD funding initiative was launched by Government back in August 2022, and at the time participants were invited to submit their bids for a share of £140 million public funding. Entries closed in October last year and we understand many of the winning bids have already started work on their project activities. A further £60 million of funding has been added to the pot to increase the number of projects and vehicles on the programme.

As well as the ZERFD announcement, the Government has announced further funding for the Freight Innovation Fund and is also launching two Calls for Evidence to continue exploring new ways for the freight industry to decarbonise and become more efficient. The first is the Call for Evidence to inform and support the development of the zero emission HGV and coach infrastructure strategy which is due to be published in 2024. The second is the Call for Evidence on volumetric concrete mixers (VCMs) which will consider whether a temporary weight allowance should remain, be removed or amended for the vehicles beyond the current deadline of 2028.