Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Manufacturers Say Industry Needs Effective Fuel Efficiency Metrics and Global Fuel Regulations

Jose Michael

Chief executives of the world’s leading heavy-duty engine and vehicle manufacturing companies gathered last week in New Orleans for the 6th Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting (GCVIM). Participants in the meeting agreed that addressing climate change and fuel efficiency requires require developing effective fuel efficiency measurement metrics and methodologies and global fuel regulations.

The chief executives of the assembled companies agreed to continue working together with governments toward harmonized global standards with an emphasis on uniform measurement and testing protocols. The executives further agreed to meet jointly with the relevant national authorities to stress the need for a speeding progress towards the development of a fully harmonized WHDC (Worldwide harmonized Heavy-Duty emissions Certification procedure) Global Technical Regulation. They also agreed to work to improve fuel efficiency, develop hybrid technology certification procedures, and develop high-quality renewable fuels specifications.

Work on a WHDC has been underway since June 1997, when the UNECE Group of Experts on Pollution and Energy (GRPE) mandated the ad-hoc group WHDC with the development of a “World-wide harmonized Heavy Duty Certification procedure”. The objective of the program is to develop a world-wide harmonized engine test cycle for the emissions certification procedure of heavy-duty engines that would:

  • Become a uniform global basis for engine certification regarding exhaust emissions;

  • Be representative of world-wide real life heavy-duty engine operation;

  • Give the highest potential for the control of real-life emissions;

  • Be applicable in the future to state-of-the-art technology; and

  • Match emissions in relative terms for accurate ranking of different engines/technologies.

On the fuel efficiency side, only Japan so far has implemented such standards for heavy-duty vehicles (introduced in 2006), according to a review by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Among the challenges in applying a such a standard to the heavy-duty market is measuring a wide variety of heavy duty vehicles without placing too great a burden on manufacturers. To address that issue, Japan introduced a new test procedure which utilizes computer simulation.

Additional topics addressed at the GCVIM meeting included global air quality emissions standards, renewable fuels, and road and vehicle safety.

The world’s leading commercial engine and vehicle manufacturers recognize the importance of fuel efficiency to our customers and support the global effort to combat climate change. Developing metrics and methodologies to evaluate fuel efficiency and advancing global fuel regulations are key initiatives that will serve our customers and the environment. The executives who participated today are dedicated to working with government bodies worldwide to reduce fuel consumption and emissions from on-road goods movement.

—Tim Solso, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cummins, Inc., 6th GCVIM host

The chief executives discussed how the global harmonization of technical standards affecting heavy-duty engines and vehicles can enhance environmental performance, safety, and efficient goods movement. Among the topics addressed at the meeting were:

  • Recent initiatives to improve fuel efficiency.

  • The need for uniform metrics and measurement methodologies to provide an accurate basis for quantifying fuel efficiency of on-road goods movement.

  • The advantages of using computer simulation to evaluate fuel efficiency of very diverse commercial vehicle configurations and uses.

  • The importance of harmonized fuel specifications and the need to develop technical and quality specifications for renewable fuels. The participants promoted and supported the hydrogenation processing routes.

  • Progress in developing methods to certify hybrid electric vehicles.

  • Development of a worldwide harmonized standard for air quality emissions testing.

  • Improving road and commercial vehicle safety through a holistic approach.

In addition to the participation of the chief executives, the Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting is attended by member delegates and staff from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA), and the Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA).

The GCVIM meeting in 2009 will be hosted by Daimler AG in Europe.

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