A plan to reduce carbon emissions from trucks, buses and coaches has been published by the European Commission. The document states that heavy duty vehicles (HDVs), are responsible for ‘around a quarter’ of carbon emissions from road transport in the EU.
The policy document, entitled ‘Reducing Heavy-Duty Vehicles’ fuel consumption and CO2 emissions’ states the Commission’s desire for plant managers to compare the environmental credentials of new heavy vehicles. A computer simulation known as VECTO (Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool) will be used to measure carbon emissions. The plan states that the Commission intends to bring forward proposals for legislation in 2015, requiring carbon emissions from new HDVs to be certified, reported and monitored. Eventually, mandatory limits on average emissions from newly-registered HDVs could be introduced, as is already done for cars and vans.
SMMT Commercial Vehicles Manager Nigel Base acknowledged computer simulation as a basis for certification, but expressed concern that HDVs with disparate body types and axle configurations could ever produce consistent emissions readings. “There are so many different types of vehicle bodies, cranes, tippers, fridges – you name it. Resolving this issue will involve ‘long and complex consultation’.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) also expressed concern that a certification scheme will be overly simplistic due to the array of models and sizes of truck configurations. The wide variety of weights and loads that will be carried will also affect the per tonne carbon efficiency of new HDVs. FTA Climate Change Policy Manager, Rachael Dillon said, “Any approach to certifying carbon emissions of vehicles that does not take into account how much that vehicle can carry misses the point. Larger vehicles may well be more carbon efficient per tonne carried, and that is what matters.”
The policy document states that studies indicate, “State-of-the art technologies can achieve cost-effective reductions of at least 30% in CO2 emissions from new HDVs”.