Berlin, March 23, 2015. “The decision by the state government of Baden-Württemberg to take part in the field trial with long trucks is a good signal for German industry and logistics. The VDA welcomes the fact that Baden-Württemberg is opening up to the field trial. This is a first important step that should now be echoed by the federal states that are still hesitating, especially Brandenburg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. Long trucks can make road freight traffic even more efficient. The field test offers the opportunity of practical trials of this efficiency in road freight traffic, which should be available to companies in all the German states. A joint search for solutions is the only way to make progress on climate action. We must not close our eyes to this fact,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).
He explained that Baden-Württemberg’s decision could save thousands of tonnes of fuel in the future and thus avoid CO2 emissions. That would benefit the environment and the climate, and strengthen industry in Baden-Württemberg at the same time.
Wissmann called for the other federal states now also to rapidly embrace the field trial: “The experience of the companies in the long-truck field trial running since the beginning of 2012 – with distances of almost 10,150 kilometers so far – is very encouraging and confirms our expectations.”
The VDA president was convinced this would be repeated in Baden-Württemberg. The Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), which provides scientific support for the field trial, had just recently presented an interim report confirming that long trucks used in real-life conditions can achieve savings of up to 25 percent in fuel and CO2 per tonne of transported goods. Wissmann emphasized, “This means the long truck is a genuine eco truck. Long trucks make sense above all on freeways and for transporting lightweight high-volume goods, and contribute greatly to raising efficiency.” At the same time, he added, it was apparent that worries about long trucks undermining rail freight were unfounded: “The opposite is the case: rail and road freight transport complemented each other when long trucks are used because the vehicles are consistently designed to satisfy the requirements of combined road-rail transport,” Wissmann said.
He also welcomed the recent announcement by the Minister of Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia, that it was to join the field trial with “extended trailers”, as an important further step: “Now that Baden-Württemberg’s Green/Socialist government has accepted the idea of long trucks, it should also be possible to gather practical experience with long trucks in North Rhine-Westphalia – the time is right,” the VDA president underscored.
The field trial had shown unequivocally that long trucks operate smoothly and safely, and blend in completely with other road traffic. Currently 112 vehicles from 42 companies were registered with the BASt. Since long trucks have a maximum weight of 40 t (or 44 t in combined road-rail transport), Wissmann explained, they are no heavier than conventional trucks and therefore do not put greater loads on the infrastructure either. This is because the total weight is borne by more axles, resulting in better axle weight distribution and therefore less impact on the roads.