European, North American and Japanese heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers continue to call for global cooperation and regulatory harmonisation to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from the road freight sector.

The world's leading manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks and engines gathered in Brussels to discuss key issues facing their industry, including fuel-efficiency improvements, reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, global diesel fuel specifications, and issues related to heavy-duty engine and vehicle regulation and certification.

Chaired by Harrie Schippers, president of DAF Trucks and chairman of the commercial vehicle board of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), this was the chief executives' tenth meeting to discuss global issues and to recommend solutions to the critical regulatory challenges facing commercial vehicle manufacturers.

Summarising the meeting, Schippers said: "Globally, commercial vehicle manufacturers are taking decisive steps to overcome both short and long-term challenges. The industry is motivated by the commercial imperative to increase fuel efficiency, as well as the related aim of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Global cooperation to harmonise fuel efficiency related test methods will be given priority as this can deliver important cost savings to the industry, which will benefit our customers as well as wider society." He added that, "the meeting has also focused on longer-term issues with the objective to increase flexibility in connection with vehicle design, which can contribute to important emission reductions from the road freight sector."Schippers ended by saying, "in examining these important technical areas, this high-level meeting has reaffirmed the importance of international cooperation in the commercial vehicles industry."

Evaluating developments since previous meetings, the chief executives discussed:

  • Steps towards adopting the worldwide heavy-duty emissions certification procedure (WHDC)
  • Developments in harmonising diesel fuel specifications and regulations
  • Global cooperation on regulatory demands for improved fuel efficiency and reduced GHG emissions.

Industry leaders agreed on the need to:

  • Continue global cooperation in expanding the application of the WHDC
  • Highlight the importance of global diesel fuel specifications
  • Develop globally harmonised fuel-efficiency test procedures
  • Promote global harmonisation of heavy-duty hybrid certification procedures.

The leaders of the assembled companies will work with their respective governments to speed up the adoption of WHDC procedure and to support the United Nations in the establishment of a globally harmonised procedure for heavy-duty hybrid certification. The participants reconfirmed that they would continue discussions with the UN on the development of global diesel fuel specifications. They also re-emphasised the need for concerted global action to reduce GHG emissions and promote the establishment of global test procedures for evaluating CO2 emissions from HDVs.

The international partners intend to assemble joint expert groups to address the following GHG-related topics:

  • Engine Fuel Mapping
  • Aerodynamic Drag
  • Duty Cycles/ Driver Models

For the longer term, the leaders were encouraged to consider the potential of a harmonised approach to the following topics:

  • Higher-capacity vehicles (HCV)
  • Performance-based standards for HCV
  • International intermodal loading units

They also affirmed that trans-national/trans-regional cooperative efforts by industry and governments to foster global harmonisation can lead to improvements for customers, the environment and for the industry.

Charlton of Cummins extended an invitation to the chief executives to hold their 2013 meeting on 7 November 2013 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Also attending this meeting were representatives of ACEA, the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA), and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).