The VDA has completed a pilot study of a new larger truck and trailer combination, called Eurocombi. The pilot showed that fuel savings of around 30% could be made with the same payload, and that heavy truck use on German motorways could be reduced by around 13%.

The EuroCombi concept was first presented in Hannover last September. At that time the VDA said that the modular combination of a truck with a semi-trailer with a trailer attached, or a semitrailer attached to a dolly, would save around 15% fuel by transporting 50% more load per vehicle.

In a statement, the VDA said that the study found that the same amount of goods could be carried with two journeys on average, instead of three.

“That is good for the infrastructure and results in considerable fuel savings,” it said.

The VDA added that EuroCombi is well-suited for combined rail and road transport which would make the system even more efficient.

The pilot study considered around 1,000 journeys in the states of Niedersachsen, Baden-Württemberg and Nordrhein-Westfalen. The test vehicles used between five and 30% less fuel per load. If applied nationally, EuroCombis could save 2.2bn vehicle kilometres, said the VDA. On busy sections of motorway that could mean two trucks fewer per minute.

The VDA added that the EuroCombi should be fitted with the latest safety and comfort technology and that there were no accidents during the pilot study.

Speaking at the presentation last year, the then president of the VDA, Bernd Gottschalk, said: “By presenting the EuroCombi, we are kicking off a dialogue with all parties affected by this issue. We will carefully consider all arguments, particularly the concerns of car drivers who are worried about traveling on roads with longer commercial vehicles.

“Our aim is not to introduce a maximum weight concept of 60 tonnes, but to present a full range of technically feasible and efficient solutions.”