EU agrees to safer and cleaner truck designs but not until 2022

Published: 12 December 2014

EU agrees to safer and cleaner truck designs but not until 2022
The European Union member states and European Parliament have struck a deal to put an end to Europe’s traditional brick shaped lorries, which are considered as fuel inefficient and highly dangerous to cyclists by changing the existing regulations on weight and dimensions.

The end is in sight, however industry lobbyist’s have criticized the EU agreement that delays the phase out until 2022.

The current regulations that are in place on lorry weights and dimensions restrict the length of HGV’s to 2.35metres so to maximise truck space, manufacturers have been designing short cabins with drivers in high level seating positions over the engine and front axle.

The restrictions were originally in place to protect highways from excessive large vehicles.

The ‘brick faced’ designed trucks of today limit the potential fuel and CO2 emission’s that could be saved. The new deal would enable truck manufacturers to create longer more aerodynamic fronts, between 80cm – 90cm longer, which could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10%. They could also reduce the amounts of pedestrian and cyclist accidents by increasing the driver’s field of view. You can see a recent news report on the new designs here.

Current truck design.

The new deal will bring the EU more in line with the HGV’s in the USA which tend to be 1.5m longer than over here in the EU.

The original proposal which was backed by European parliament and a number of industry groups and unions would have allowed the new regulations for design in 2017. However truck manufactures who have been backed by countries such as France and Sweden (home countries of truck manufacturers Volvo and Renault) have argued that a quick transition to the new regulations would cause a disruption in the competitive balance of the industry, they lobbied to extend the date to 2025. After discussions a new deadline was agreed as 2022, 5 years longer than previously proposed.

William Todts from campaigning group Transport & Environment (T&E) has welcomed the end of "dangerous and inefficient brick-shaped trucks", but criticised the industry, which has recently been investigated for price-fixing, over its lobbying to ban a more fuel efficient design"

"The absurd and unprecedented decision to impose a ban on new lorry designs until 2022 casts a dark shadow over the agreement," he added. "Clearly the Commission needs to do much more to inject real competition in this sector. Setting ambitious fuel efficiency standards for trucks like the US has done would be a good start."

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