Saving up to 25 per cent in CO2 and fuel consumption
“Long trucks are an especially important instrument in achieving the EU’s climate goals in road freight transport,” said Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the 65th IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hannover. Wissmann stressed, “To achieve the ambitious EU goal of 20 per cent less CO2 from traffic by 2030, all the potentials will have to be exploited. Long trucks can enable savings of up to 25 per cent in fuel and CO2 per tonne transported. They are therefore genuine eco-trucks.” At the IAA Commercial Vehicles, numerous exhibitors are showing long truck combinations that can be deployed in the field trial in Germany.
At the IAA, Federal Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt also spoke in favour of using long trucks, saying, “My aim is for them to be used in regular operations.” According to Minister Dobrindt, the interim report from the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) supported the general approval of long trucks. “The long truck trial helps make traffic much more efficient,” Dobrindt continued. State Premier Stephan Weil said of the long truck test: “Lower Saxony is on board. We want to know whether the large-scale trial will bring good results.”
Wissmann emphasised that the commercial vehicle industry wished to utilise long trucks for reducing CO2. It was necessary, he said, to gather additional experience in the current field trial. “Deployment of long trucks will be most useful and safe on motorways. A ‘positive list’ of networked roads must be defined throughout Germany, on which long trucks can drive safely.” Wissmann called on the EU to enable cross-border traffic with long trucks.
The long truck field trial started at the beginning of 2012, and 39 hauliers are currently taking part with 80 vehicles. The Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) recently presented results from the accompanying scientific programme. “This report eliminates any remaining doubts about long trucks,” declared Ulrich Schöpker, VDA Vice-president and Board Member at the trailer manufacturer Schmitz Cargobull. “Crucially, long trucks do not compete with rail, and instead can be well integrated into Combined Transport. We have always designed the vehicles to meet the demands of combined road-and-rail transport. The vehicles are also being used safely in road traffic. And the infrastructure will not be subject to greater loads,” Schöpker said.
Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, Member of the Board of Daimler AG, Head of Daimler Trucks and Buses Division, and chairman of the VDA Board Group Commercial Vehicles, appealed for the way to be made easier for introducing long trucks and prejudices to be cast aside. Bernhard said, “Two long trucks can do the work of three conventional vehicles, and that would reduce the amount of traffic while relieving pressure on the infrastructure and the environment. We will never achieve savings such as those from long trucks by using other technologies.”
A large number of long trucks can be seen at the IAA Commercial Vehicles.The most impressive one is the ZF Innovation Truck on the Innovation Stage to the north of Hall 26. The truck-trailer combination can manoeuvre without a driver at the wheel. And the diesel engine is not used, either. At low speeds the truck can be controlled remotely from a tablet computer and manoeuvred using electric power only. There are demonstrations of it several times a day. Another long truck can be viewed directly in front of the Innovation Stage.