The commercial vehicle members of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) cautioned that the benefits of the latest emission-reducing technologies will not be felt unless new vehicles are actually put on the roads.
The introduction of EURO VI has been a major achievement for the commercial vehicle sector, with pollutant emissions being slashed to near-zero levels. Compared to EURO V-- which itself achieved a major reduction in emissions compared to Euro III and IV -- NOx emissions have been reduced by a further 80% and particle mass emissions (including ultra fine particles) have fallen by a further 67%. This is in addition to the introduction of a massively more complex suite of new tests.
Europe must now make the most of the solutions brought to market by EURO V and EURO VI by helping to encourage fleet renewal. This would not only greatly and more quickly improve air quality, but would also stimulate the economy.
"This is certainly challenging in the context of the current market," said Harrie Schippers, CEO of DAF Trucks and Chairman of ACEA's Commercial Vehicle Board. "With people holding on to their trucks for much longer than before, the average age of the fleet is rising. The significant proportion of older, more polluting EURO 0, I, II and III trucks on the roads is obviously having a negative impact on the environment. But there is a huge potential to make a real difference."
Schippers was addressing journalists and reporters at the ACEA press conference of commercial vehicle CEOs, which also brought together Andreas Renschler (CEO of Daimler Trucks), Georg Pachta-Reyhofen (CEO of MAN Truck & Bus), Martin Lundstedt (CEO of Scania) and Olof Persson (CEO of Volvo Group).
In view of the strategy on CO2 emissions for heavy-duty vehicles to be announced by Climate Commissioner Hedegaard next year, Schippers also stressed the importance of building on the strong and natural force of customer demand. Fuel efficiency is a key element in the purchase decision, as fuel represents 30% of the running costs -- almost as much as the cost of employing drivers.
"There has been a clear business case to minimize fuel consumption for decades, and the sector has been self-regulating with regard to CO2 emissions, as these are directly linked to fuel consumption," Schippers explained. "European policy makers must build on what Europe already has: a robust and highly competitive freight transport market. With the right framework, we can continue to work together to drive the economy and care for the environment."ACEA also released the fourth edition of its popular Pocket Guide, which contains the most commonly sought after figures, tables and statistics pertaining to the European and global automobile industries.
This 2012 edition contains new data on resource-efficient production for cars and light commercial vehicles, showing how European manufacturers have advanced in reducing the environmental impact of vehicle production in recent years, using less water and energy, and producing less CO2 and waste.
Unit production uses nearly a fifth less water than it did in 2005, total energy usage is down 3.4% despite greater vehicle complexity, and total CO2 emissions have been reduced by a tenth. The emissions of volatile organic compounds, for instance from paintshops, have been drastically reduced by 37.5% in total and by around a third per unit. Finally, the total amount of waste generated by the manufacturing of vehicles went down 4.7%.
In addition to this new information, the Guide also includes the latest key figures on employment and trade, as well as vehicle production, registration, use and taxation. The principle of the Pocket Guide is to serve as the definitive picture of the European automotive landscape today.