EU emissions attention turns to trailers

Trailers are the latest target of EU emissions regulations with new thresholds for CO2 emissions set to come into force for the first time from 2024.

CO2 emissions are expected to fall by 15% through to 2025 and by as much as 30% by 2030 when compared to the 2019 and 2020 reference period.

All one- to three-axle semi-trailers will have to be certified along with central axle and turntable trailers. Manufacturers who do not meet the fleet consumption targets will be fined.

The trailers' CO2 emissions are determined using software specially developed for this purpose and running a simulation program of VECTO (Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool) for Trailers. It calculates the different usable loads and dimensions, but also takes into different bonus factors for example the reduced fuel consumption of up to 4.5 percent through the use of lifting and steering axles, depending on the driving cycle. The use of lightweight running gear is also rewarded.

Speaking about the new targets, Bernd Rhein, application engineering manager at axle manufacturer BPW said: "There are still a few unanswered questions before the final design of the certification. More consideration of the benefits of transport would be desirable. A high-volume transporter that makes maximum use of the legally permitted dimensions, for example, might get a worse rating than a standard vehicle according to the current plan. Longer vehicle combinations and drawbar trailers with more than three axles are also lacking. A little more fine-tuning is needed to realistically reflect the economic factors and climate-friendliness of these vehicles. In principle, we are headed in the right direction. The regulation is a great advantage for innovative vehicle manufacturers and their system partners. It creates more transparency and comparability, where previously the sales price was the main focus. The new trailer certification will be a win-win situation for our environment and for vehicle operators."