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EU proposes new rules to allow more aerodynamic trucks

15 April 2013

The European Commission released a proposal that will allow truck cabins with a rounded shape and for the use of aerodynamic flaps at the back the trailer. These measures will considerably improve the aerodynamics of vehicles, reducing fuel consumption and GHG emissions by 7-10%, according to the Commission. This represents savings of approximately €5,000 per year in fuel costs for a typical long-distance truck covering 100,000 km.

The proposal also allows for additional weight specifically to accommodate the use of heavier batteries required by alternative propulsion systems (hybrid, electric) for trucks—mainly urban—and coaches. However, the maximum loading capacity of trucks will not change.

The proposal will introduce amendments to Directive 96/53/EC which regulates weights and dimensions of heavy goods vehicles. As the Directive sets limits on the overall length of trucks, it discourages aerodynamic design. Under the current rules, introducing elements of aerodynamic design—such as rounded shape cabins—would necessitate a reduction in the carrying capacity of the vehicle.

Some of the proposed changes include:

The proposal must be adopted by the European Parliament and Member States before becoming law. First new trucks could be expected on the roads by 2018-2020.

Source: European Commission