Weights and dimensions

Today the front of European truck cabs are flat faced. The aerodynamics are bad – meaning more fuel use and climate emissions. Direct vision – what the drivers sees through the windows – is poor, as is overall safety performance, resulting in more road deaths, particularly of pedestrians and cyclists. Trucks make up less than 2% of vehicles on EU roads but account for 15% of annual fatalities. 

Why does it matter?

After improving the engine/powertrain, redesigning the front of the truck is the most important thing vehicle-makers can do to save fuel and emissions. Reductions of 3-5% are possible. Regarding safety, truck collisions kill around 4,000 annually in the EU, more than 1,000 of which are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

What has been done so far? 

A 2015 revision of EU law in 2015 provided for longer truck cabs if – and only if – they delivered better aerodynamics, vision, safety and driver comfort. The detailed rules still need to be written to implement this provision, and one approach is to use a 'design envelope'. This report by Apollo Consulting was commissioned by T&E and suggests parameters to govern such an envelope approach.

Reducing the moratorium 

Under the 2015 reform there was due to be a three-year moratorium (lead-in period) before this new generation of trucks could be placed on the market. But already three years have passed, and so in May 2018 the Commission published draft legislation to replace the three-year moratorium with a four-month lead-in period. If the planned legislative timeline stays on course, it will be lawful to place the first rounder cabs on the market towards the end of 2019. 

Are such trucks likely to be built? 

Yes, many truck makers already have trucks in design to take advantage of the planned new rules – the following links show video clips of such vehicles by Iveco, MAN/Krone and Mercedes/Daimler