The system will require truckmakers to supply information on key vehicle parameters, including weight, aerodynamics performance and engine efficiency. Using this data, the simulator will generate reference CO2 emission values that customers can read on labels placed on new vehicles.
These fuel figures could also be the basis for the CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles that the Commission is expected to propose early next year.
But campaigners have cautioned that while this new test procedure will increase transparency, it will not deliver the emissions cuts Europe needs to meet its climate targets or prevent truckmakers from exploiting test loopholes – as carmakers routinely do.
T&E called for the expected second VECTO package due later this year to guarantee that researchers, fleet managers, transport companies and NGOs will have access to the raw data used. This would allow the figures to be cross-checked with the results of independent testing. T&E together with other transport industry representatives have already demanded this in an earlier joint letter.
The second package should also include on-road fuel consumption testing, T&E added, as the Commission is planning to do for cars and vans.
T&E’s safer and cleaner trucks officer, Stef Cornelis, said: ‘We welcome the adoption of the VECTO test procedure but in order to make it more accurate and reliable, we’ll need on-road testing and third party checks. We need to draw the right lessons from dieselgate and design truck tests that reflect reality, not manufacturer labs.”
The Commission announced last year that it would introduce fuel efficiency standards for trucks for the first time in Europe. Trucks represent less than 5% of all vehicles on the road in Europe but are responsible for around 30% of road transport CO2 emissions. Lack of progress on truck fuel economy and road freight growth led to HDV emissions increasing by 36℅ between 1990 and 2010.
Cornelis concluded: ‘VECTO may increase market transparency somewhat but it won't fundamentally change the market. If we really want to cut CO2 emissions we must have fuel efficiency standards. That’s why the European Commission must come forward with a proposal for CO2 standards early 2018.’