In the first week of October, Bordeaux hosted the 22nd ITS World Congress, the largest conference on intelligent transport systems (ITS) in the world. ACEA joined more than 10,000 experts to explore the potential of ITS technology. From the perspective of Europe s heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers, developments in the field of truck platooning are among the most promising ITS innovations.
Platooning which is the linking of two or three self-driving trucks in convoy can optimise transport by using roads more effectively, delivering goods faster through fewer traffic jams. Even more important, platooning has the potential to improve road safety, make transport more fuel efficient, and thus significantly reduce CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. Manufacturers are eager to bring this technology to Europe s roads and the first real-life tests are underway. However, differences in legislation between EU member states mean that it will take some more years before we can see these convoys on the road.
If we want to take advantage of the potential of self-driving trucks, it is important to harmonise all relevant national regulations. French law, for example, defines a safe driving distance between trucks as 50 metres, while Germany uses a different unit of measurement as it enforces a driving time of two seconds. To accelerate the introduction of automated trucks in Europe, the Netherlands which will take over the EU Presidency from Luxembourg on 1 January is organising the European Truck Platooning Challenge in order to put the subject high on the agenda of EU policy makers in 2016. This pilot project will bring various self-driving trucks on the road with a mission to cross European borders in convoy. ACEA and its commercial vehicle members are actively supporting and participating in the European Truck Platooning Challenge in order to make self-driving trucks a common sight in the near future. Platooning will not only help the European truck industry to strengthen its technical leadership and global competitiveness, but also is expected to make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions from road transport. Studies estimate that truck platooning can reduce fuel consumption, and with that CO2 emissions, by up to 5%. Even though Europe s truck manufacturers have reduced CO2 emissions from their vehicles by 60% over the last decades, ACEA members believe that more can be done by looking beyond vehicle technology alone. That is why truck platooning is part of the industry s comprehensive approach to further reducing CO2 emissions. This holistic approach not only focuses on new vehicles, but instead looks at all elements that affect emissions during the use of a truck. Besides the vehicle itself, trailer design, alternative fuels, logistics, infrastructure and ITS technology (such as platooning) all play a decisive role in further reducing fuel consumption, and thus CO2 emissions, in years to come.
Emissions and fuel efficiency: Building on the strengths of the commercial vehicle industry CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY Ladies and gentlemen, as we all know, the increasing demand for freight transport and the continual push to protect the environment pose a challenge to the transport sector, our governments and the energy sector. This challenge impacts the entire European economy. On behalf of the commercial vehicle industry of Europe, I would like to talk to you today about how we can rise to this challenge by building on the strengths of our industry .
EURO VI takes centre stage at IAA 2012 Already, commercial vehicle manufacturers have successfully implemented EURO V, bringing down regulated emissions by over 95% over the past 25 years. Now, in responding to EURO VI, manufacturers have moved up yet another gear. Thanks to our leadership and investments in technology, pollutant emissions have been slashed to near-zero levels.
Compared to EURO V – which itself achieved a major reduction in emissions compared to Euro III and IV – NOx emissions have been reduced by a further 80% and particle mass emissions – including ultra fine particles – have fallen by a further 67%. This is in addition to the introduction of a massively more complex suite of new tests. The achievement of EURO VI is even greater when we consider that compliance is required across the entire range of vehicle families.
This means that some tens of thousands of vehicle types have to comply, not just one model. But the benefits of the new technologies being showcased here in Hanover will not be felt unless these new vehicles are actually put on the roads. This is certainly challenging in the context of the current market.
With people holding on to their trucks for much longer than before and the market 20% below the replacement rate, the average age of trucks is rising. The significant proportion of older, more polluting EURO O, I, II and III trucks on the roads is obviously having a negative impact on the environment. Europe must make the most of the solutions brought to market by EURO V and VI by helping to encourage fleet renewal.
This would not only greatly and more quickly improve air quality, but would also stimulate the economy. There is a huge potential to make a real difference. After EURO VI, the next step is to go on reducing CO2 emissions European manufacturers are already world leaders in fuel efficiency.
Indeed, modern European commercial vehicles are a third more fuel-efficient than 30 years ago, producing less CO2-per-tonne than most passenger cars. These CO2 savings have been achieved at the same time as the dramatic decreases in NOx and PM from the EURO standards – despite both initiatives requiring sometimes conflicting measures. The industry did not need incentives or legislation to achieve this, as fuel-efficiency is simply the backbone of our business model – as I will explain in a moment.
Through its own Vision 20-20 strategy the industry has already shown its commitment towards ever more sustainable transport. Unveiled in Hannover in 2008, this strategy aims to decrease fuel consumption by 20% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels. This is equivalent to an improvement of over 1.3% per year.
We are already well on track with this objective, and continue to seek new pathways to go beyond it. CO2 policy for heavy duty vehicles is on the horizon The Commission is preparing a strategy on CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. Our industry awaits with great expectation this strategy, to be announced by Climate Commissioner Hedegaard next year, and has taken the opportunity to formulate some recommendations : 1.
CO2 emissions from trucks cannot be addressed via a one- size-fits-all policy. Any strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles has to take account of the key features of trucks: The shape of the vehicles, which depends on their daily mission . No one truck is like another.
The same tractor or engine may end up pulling very different trailers and combinations, affecting the CO2 emissions of the complete vehicle. The usage pattern of the vehicles and their cargo, in other words, the work they do . Is the payload heavy or large?
Is the road flat or hilly? Will the vehicle travel over a long distance in one go, or is the journey short with many starts and stops? All these usage patterns result in different CO2 emissions.
CO2 reduction policy for commercial vehicles should therefore not follow the same approach as that for passenger cars. It should use the appropriate measurement metric; that is to say work done , or – according to what the vehicles carry – fuel-consumption per tonne-kilometre, cubic-kilometre or passenger-kilometre. Policy should aim to develop methods that cover the wide variations in vehicles and missions.
To this end, ACEA encourages the use of a computer simulation tool based on real-world data that reflects the emissions produced under real driving circumstances. This would allow for a transparent comparison of vehicle performance, and would be welcomed by customers as a guidance tool to help them purchase the best vehicle for the job.
2. Policy measures should propel the natural force of customer demand.
Trucks and buses are economic goods. Fuel efficiency is a key element in the purchase decision, as fuel represents 30% of the running costs – almost as much as the cost of employing drivers. There has therefore been a clear business case to minimise fuel consumption for decades, and the sector has been self-regulating with regard to CO2 emissions, as these are directly linked to fuel consumption.
3. Progress must be embedded in a wider effort involving all players CO2 emissions can only come down effectively with efforts from not only manufacturers, but also operators, drivers, governments, infrastructure and urban planners, and the fuel and energy industry. This is what we call the integrated approach .
Vehicle technology is important, but there is low-hanging fruit that also needs picking: an improved traffic flow, intelligent infrastructure, logistics, driver training, adjustments in vehicle size and dimensions , availability of alternative fuels and better cooperation between transport modes. The full impact of new vehicle technologies will only be felt when the existing fleet has been replaced, but these other measures will have an immediate impact on the entire existing fleet. And now I would like to say a few words specifically on the issue of vehicle size and dimensions .
A large truck has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than a smaller commercial vehicle. Put simply, it uses less fuel to move more goods. It is therefore illogical to stand in the way of cross-border use of European Modular System trucks (EMS), which are longer combinations of trucks and trailers.
Enabling three trucks to be replaced by two and thereby bringing fuel consumption down by about 17%, EMS represent the most cost-efficient and immediate way of reducing CO2 emissions.
4. We must have a consistent, harmonised and reliable regulatory system As we have seen, different policy goals in areas like emissions, fuel consumption and size and dimensions but also safety and noise – have created rules that are sometimes inconsistent. Therefore – in line with the main outcomes of CARS 21 – smarter, more coordinated regulation is needed for the automotive industry.
European regulation has harmonised requirements for emissions from vehicles. However, infrastructure policy, driver training and even vehicle maintenance requirements are still inconsistent between member states. This creates confusion and makes it difficult to invest in better, harmonised solutions.
Ladies and gentlemen, the European commercial vehicle sector is a global trend-setter, producing vehicles which are safer, cleaner and more effective than ever. This lead has not been achieved through applying regulation: innovations have always been a consequence of customer demand. We are all deeply committed to progress, and are confident that our industry will remain a strong leader.
However, the reality is that demand for commercial vehicles is strongly proportional to the strength of the economy – which is fragile in Europe. Truck makers have suffered accordingly with heavy sales down over 30% since the 2007 and 2008 levels. European policy makers need to find solutions to strengthen the economy.
They need to apply more harmonised and smarter regulation principles. Finally, they must build on what Europe already has: a robust and highly competitive freight transport market. With such a framework, we can continue to work together to drive the economy and care for the environment.
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Harrie Schippers Speech at ACEA Commercial Vehicle CEO Press