Commercial vehicles

    What needs to be considered in the CO2 certification of bodies and trailers

    CO2 certification is an important instrument for environmental protection policies. Yet additional financial burdens for SMEs must be avoided.

    CO2 certification is an important instrument for environmental protection policies. Yet additional financial burdens for SMEs must be avoided.

    CO2 certification needs to take SMEs into account

    German body and trailer manufacturers support the European Union's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. These targets pose significant challenges for the road transport sector and body/trailer manufacturers. CO2 savings in trailers and bodywork require new technical solutions that need to be aligned with actual use.

    As an instrument of its climate protection policy for transportation, the European Commission has adopted Regulation (EU) 2017/2400 to implement CO2 certification for heavy-duty vehicles. The aim is to improve market transparency with regard to the CO2 emissions and energy efficiency of the vehicles concerned. Currently, the regulation only applies to trucks. Predefined reference trailers are used to calculate CO2 values for vehicle combinations.

    In the future, the EU would also like to include trailers and real bodies in the CO2 certification. The European Commission is currently working on a method to also calculate their CO2 values. The corresponding regulation and the calculation method are to be completed by the end of 2021.

    Reduce bureaucratic and financial burdens to a minimum

    The manufacturers of bodies and trailers in Europe are mainly composed of small and medium-sized companies with limited financial and human resources. Therefore, any future CO2 certification must take these concerns into account. A CO2 certification for bodies and trailers must avoid additional bureaucratic or financial burdens for manufacturers, especially since the wide variety of bodies and trailers is tailored to the specific needs of customers. For example, the number of vehicles produced per body type is often very small. Cost and labor-intensive procedures for generating specific CO2 values for these vehicles are thus not economically feasible in many cases.

    Against this background, the EU Commission is developing a proposal that focuses mainly on the certification of closed body types and trailers in the O3 and O4 categories with closed bodies (box, radiator, curtain-side). Other body types (silo, open box, tipping body, tank, etc.) are initially not to be included in any CO2 certification.

    Consider the technical limitations in improving trailers

    In the future, the affected trailer manufacturers will be required to use a simulation tool (VECTO) to calculate the CO2 values for their vehicle. The use of the VECTO tool requires the input of body dimensions, tire parameters, and weights as well as the selection of additional parameters. The VECTO tool then provides the trailer's CO2 value when combined with a standard tractor vehicle. Dynamic tests of vehicles or components, e.g. to measure air resistance, are not mandatory by default for body and trailer manufacturers.

    Currently, there is no specification of CO2 emission reduction targets for a trailer manufacturer's new vehicle fleet. However, this will soon be the subject of discussion once CO2 certification for trailers comes into force. Such decisions should be based on a sound and comprehensive cost-benefit analysis and impact assessment. This assessment should also take into account the technical limitations in improving trailers. At the same time, incentives should be created for hauliers to procure CO2-reducing measures for their trailers.

    Dr.-Ing. Sascha Pfeifer
    Contact person

    Dr.-Ing. Sascha Pfeifer

    Head of the Transport Policy Division

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