Longer cabs delayed until 2022

European legislators have scheduled the introduction of longer truck cabs for 2022 at the earliest, a compromise attracting criticism from both sides of the divide.

Truck manufacturers want more development time while environmentalists believe that banning the cabs’ introduction for seven years is an unnecessary delay for the benefits they will bring.

The European Commission’s original proposals envisaged that longer, shapelier cabs giving better crash performance, fuel-saving aerodynamics and more room for the driver and new technology could be available in 2017-18. Brussels-based environmental pressure group Transport & Environment (T&E) urged legislators to press ahead, allowing individual manufacturers to introduce longer cabs as soon as they were ready.

But ACEA, the European vehicle manufacturers’ trade association, lobbied to prevent their introduction until 2025, protecting the interests of individual manufacturers such as Volvo and Renault Trucks that have recently introduced expensive new cab designs. Cabs are hugely expensive, with a design life of 15 to 20 years.

Last month in Brussels, the European Parliament and EU countries agreed to ban the introduction until 2022 at the earliest. Timing is dictated by new technical requirements for the cabs, which are likely to be up to 800mm longer: these will be published in 2016 and finalised in 2019, followed by a three-year moratorium before longer cabs would be permitted. ACEA claimed three years is a “challenging” development lead time. T&E welcomed the agreement but criticised the seven-year wait, accusing truck makers of putting their own “competitive balance” ahead of safety and the environment.

William Todts, T&E senior policy officer, said: “Few other industries would do what the lorry industry has done here: lobby hard to keep a ban on a better product for as long as possible. This is the same industry the Commission recently started investigating for price fixing. Clearly the Commission needs to do much more to inject real competition in this sector.”