Future lies in self-regulation
Legislation was top of the agenda at a manufacturer’s press conference at the IAA, writes Mark Smyth
AT THE IAA show, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) always holds a press conference with some of the top executives from the truck industry in order to outline some of the issues facing the industry and this year the focus was again on emission legislation.
While there was an illustrious panel, the main speaker on the day was Harrie Schippers, president of Daf Trucks. He pointed out that in Europe the truck industry has already managed to reduce emissions by 95% over the past 25 years, particularly since the advent of the Euro V emission standard.
Crucially the Euro VI standard that comes into effect in December next year will cut that figure again by about 80%.
For now at least, that will be the end of the European legislation on emissions and the industry will again move to pure selfregulation under the Vision 2020 plan. This will see truck manufacturers aiming to reduce fuel consumption by 20% compared to 2005 levels.
Schippers stressed that governments need to consult more on emission legislation. “CO regulations cannot be a one size fits all policy,” he said. Vehicle, load, trailer, usage and even geographic conditions under which a vehicle operates all have an effect on the emission figure.
He and many of his colleagues are pushing for legislation that is based on consumption per ton per kilometre. With fuel accounting for 30% of running costs, the second highest cost to transport operators after drivers in Europe, Schippers questioned why legislation would even be required. Of course, the industry wants to cut fuel consumption he said, and if you take a look through some of the vehicles launched at the IAA and particularly the concept plans, you can see the effort that is being made.
There are many arguments surrounding this issue, but Schippers said that a larger truck has a lower carbon footprint than multiple small trucks as it uses less fuel to carry more goods, something that will improve even more as larger trucks become more fuel efficient.
Here in SA we need to pay more attention to what the manufacturers are saying in Europe, after all, many of our trucks come from these companies and actually, so does the basis of our legislation. The CO tax in SA is one of the worst thought through pieces of legislation in recent years. The figures it is based on are all the figures quoted by manufacturers for their vehicles and after tests conducted in Europe. The South African Bureau of Standards does not do emission testing in SA in order to establish the CO tax parameters despite the fact that our conditions are different and our fuel quality is significantly worse than what our European have.
Environmental legislation was the main topic at the press conference, but it was also pointed out by Ivan Hodac, secretary-general of the ACEA, that there is an urgent need to address the issue of old trucks on the world’s roads. Granted, this may appear to be a ploy by the manufacturers to sell new trucks, but even in SA it is clear that if we want improved efficiency on our roads, improved road safety and a better environment, we need to address this issue too.