The Commission is finalising a test procedure, called VECTO, to for the first time measure CO2 emissions from new trucks and buses. VECTO is a software simulation tool that translates input values such as aerodynamic drag, rolling resistance and engine efficiency into fuel consumption and CO2 figures on different type of routes for virtually all types of trucks. The Commission will introduce VECTO as the European type approval test procedure for trucks in 2016.
But if VECTO is to have a real impact on the market, truck users need to have access to it. Truck buyers must be able to compare how their preferred vehicles and fuel saving technologies perform on their specific routes or journeys. This would increase comparability, choice and competition.
The European Commission is currently assessing whether it should grant third parties access to VECTO and its input values. But truck manufacturers vehemently oppose it on the dubious ground that it would imply disclosing commercially sensitive information . The Commission is also working on another key demand of the eight signatories, i.e. to introduce an in-compliance test to ensure the simulated VECTO fuel consumption reflects real-world fuel consumption.
William Todts, clean truck manager at Transport & Environment said: “This is about empowering hauliers. Currently, if you want to know how fuel efficient a truck is, all you can build on is your own experience, magazines, or what the local dealer tells you. This is a barrier to competition and a big roadblock for truckers to make informed purchase decisions. That's why today an unprecedented coalition of transport operators and green groups have joined forces to put an end to this and demand full access to the truck CO2 test.”
While lorries make up only 3% of vehicles, they account for 25% of road transport CO2 emissions in Europe. Their fuel efficiency has stagnated for the last 20 years and, contrary to cars or vans or to the USA, the EU has not set fuel economy standards for trucks. For hauliers, fuel amounts to up to a third of the cost of a running a fleet. European manufacturers have a leading position on the global HDV market, accounting for over 40% of total global production.
 Truck manufacturers oppose 3rd party access to the VECTO tool, claiming that input parameters such as aerodynamic drag are strictly confidential. However, T&E analysis suggests most VECTO input values do not contain commercially sensitive knowledge. For example, the aerodynamic drag coefficient does not provide any information as to how it was achieved. Confidential data should be handled in a way that still enables third parties to effectively use VECTO.