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Commercial vehicle manufacturers to drastically reduce air pollution

The European commercial vehicle industry aims to reduce NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions by a further 80% and particulate matter by 50% compared to the current air pollution control standards for trucks in the EU. The commercial vehicle manufacturers support the most stringent scenario put forward by the Commission in preparation of new European pollutant emission standards, known as ‘Euro VI’.

“We are global technology leaders and want to make a long-term commitment to protecting the environment. Our efforts will reduce emission levels from trucks to the most ambitious level possible and result in a substantial contribution to further improving air quality”, said Aad L. Goudriaan, chairman of the commercial vehicles board of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), addressing a large audience today in Brussels at the industry’s 4th annual Commercial Vehicle Conference.

Emission levels from commercial vehicles have already decreased substantially over the past decade. The most advanced trucks on the market produce 75% less NOx and 94% less particulate matter than Euro I trucks in the early 1990s. Particulate matter emissions from the total truck fleet in the EU15 are 40% lower than a decade ago despite the fact that the number of kilometres driven has risen by over 50%. The new Euro VI levels proposed by the industry will reduce NOx and particulate matter emissions by 95 and 98% respectively, compared to the levels at the time of Euro I.

“We are now seeking harmonisation of standards worldwide”, Goudriaan added. “The new, highly ambitious emission levels proposed by the industry should enable the EU and the US to align future pollution control standards, paving the way for harmonised standards around the globe.”

Harmonisation of technical standards is essential for the vehicle manufacturers to stay competitive. The truck industry is a global industry with relatively small production numbers compared to mass production goods. Currently, technical standards and testing methods differ from region to region. This leads to different development and certification tests and to extra costs for manufacturers, public authorities and, ultimately, consumers and society. “Harmonisation is a way of keeping our resources focussed and investments concentrated on the right topics”, said Goudriaan.

The EU first introduced air pollution control or ‘Euro’ standards in 1991. The emission levels have subsequently been lowered and trucks are now approaching the ‘zero emission level’. The European commercial vehicles are the safest, cleanest and most fuel-efficient in the world and the European manufacturers are world leaders.