Van, Truck, Trailer, Bus and Coach Aftermarket News in Ireland

How to build a safer, cleaner truck

The move to give manufacturers greater freedom in truck design to improve safety and economy took another step forward this week,

Transport News Brief reports that the Transport Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of proposals allowing for longer cabins and combinations, and passed it on to the whole assembly for approval in April.

“The draft rules would allow designers to put better trucks on the road that improve road safety and reduce environmental damage,” lead MEP Jörg Leichtfried said.


While the weights and dimension revisions were welcomed by European manufacturers’ association ACEA, it added that changes should be as flexible as possible to ensure the greatest benefit was delivered.

It says additional space should be free for manufacturers to use in a number of innovative ways that have an impact on efficiency, not just in aerodynamics.

Aerodynamics might only achieve a 1% improvement in economy, it says, while other options that could use increased space, such as alternative powertrains, better cooling systems, fuel tanks for alternative fuels and waste heat recovery systems, could boost efficiency more.

“This flexible approach has far more potential to improve the fuel efficiency of the truck of the future,” said ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert.

ACEA also said that the improvements in safety between trucks and vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians targeted in the proposals do not have to hinge around redesigned cabins.
While the draft rules say redesigned cabins would reduce blind spots and help to push people clear of trucks, Jonnaert looked to other solutions.

“Safety technologies that prevent the accidents happening in the first place are the way forward,” he said. “The industry is committed to continuing to build safety technolgies into commercial vehicles.”

Besides aerodynamic flaps of up to 50cm at the rear of trailers, the proposals allow for 15cm longer combinations so that 45-foot containers can be more easily accommodated as well as for an increase in weight of up to one tonne for vehicles using alternative low carbon.

Last week the Department for Transport also adopted proposals from industry stakeholders on how changes to vehicle rules could help with the adoption of gas power to lower emissions and improve running costs.