Heavy Goods Vehicles and CO2

13.13 / 15024 / 16044 / 18033
From 2013 to 2018
CO2 reduction measures

ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers' Association) requested TML to conduct a study on CO2 reduction measures for the road freight sector. Following an integrated approach, the review considered measures related to vehicle engine efficiency, vehicle design, vehicle usage, road management and CO2 policy. The time horizon of the study was 2020 and beyond. Two driving cycles were considered: long haul and regional delivery.

The first part of the study was a literature review, after which a survey with the main European manufacturers of HGVs was conducted. Their expertise, along with VECTO simulations (Vehicle Energy Calculation TOol), was used to verify and add to the results of the literature review. Assumptions regarding the evolutions of legislation were made in agreement with ACEA.

For new vehicles, a fuel efficiency improvement of 15-17% is within reach by 2020. OEMs can contribute more than half of the improvement, with the greatest potential in engine efficiency improvement.
OEM improvement potential by 2020
OEM improvement potential by 2020 Long Haul Regional delivery
Engine efficiency 5.00 % 4.50 %
Auxilliaries management 1.50 % 1.70 %
Transmission 0.50 % 0.50 %
Alternative powertrains N/A N/A
Axles 0.50 % 0.50 %
Driver assistance system 2.50 % 2.50 %
Total OEM - 9.67 % -9.38 %

Note: due to the confidential nature of inputs, detailed results of the survey are not included in the published study.

The rest of the new vehicle improvement comes from other parties, like tyre manufacturers and body and trailer builders (aerodynamics).

Other party improved potential by 2020
Other party improved potential by 2020 Long Haul Regional delivery
Tyres 4.00 % 3.00 %
Aerodynamics: fairings, tales, etc. 4.00 % 3.00 %
Weight reduction 0.50 % 0.90 %
Total others - 8.30 % -6.76 %

When considering the entire fleet and normal vehicle usage and replacement rates (based on a 15 year vehicle lifetime), the contribution of these new technologies is limited, but increases as penetration rises. Most of the short term fuel saving potential lies in optimizing vehicle operation.


The proposed materials and methods are validated with a group of stakeholders in the European freight transport industry, and any new findings and projections that came about since the initial work.

The final report was presented to the public in February 2016 during ACEA's event "Reducing CO2 from Road Transport Together".

Scenario analysis

As a third step in the process, TML assessed the CO2 reduction potential of certain measures for heavy duty road freight transport, in case predefined conditions with regard to technological progress and uptake are met. The measures have been preselected by ACEA. Realistic and optimistic scenarios have been considered for the long haul (LH) and regional delivery (RD) cycles, under 4 mayor topics:

- Operations
- EU wide introduction of European Modular System vehicle combinations
- Platooning
- Driver training
- Load factor optimisation
- Fleet renewal incentives
- Vehicles
- Semitrailer lightweighting
- Low rolling resistance tyres
- Fuels
- Refuelling infrastructure for alternative fuels (particularly natural gas)
- Liquid biofuels
- Infrastructure
- Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication
- Road maintenance
The following table summarizes the results of this study. It should be noted that these potentials cannot be added up, as there are (sometimes major) interactions between the measures.

Measure Realistic Optimistic Cost Remarks
Operations LH RD LH RD  
EMS 7% 3.5% 12% 6% Low 17.5 % improvement per individual application
40 % market share assumed in realistic LH,
20 % in RD
Platooning 1.1%   2.2%   Moderate 10 % reduction per individual application 
11-22% penetration, only in long-haul
Driver training 5% 7% 7% 10% Low Full penetration assumed 
Combined effect of driver training and ADAS
Load factor optimalisation 4.1% 7.8% 7.8% 14.4% N/A Theoretical calculation! Assuming 5-10 percentage point increase in load factor
Fleet renewal incentives 0.9%   1.7%   High Theoretical calculation! Assuming a decrease in age at replacement of 1-2 years
Also provides benefits for tailpipe emissions
Semitrailer lightweighting 1.0%   1.3%   High Only for articulated (long-haul) vehicles - estimates are considered high by stakeholders
LRRT 7.5% 7.5% 12.5% 12.5% Low 100 % penetration of class B (realistic) or class A (optimistic)
DAFI (natural gas vehicles) 1% 1% 5% 5% Moderate 10-20 % improvement per individual application 
Higher penetration + higher share of renewagble gas
Also provides benefits for tailpipe emissions
Liquid biofuels 3.3% 3.3% 4.5% 4.5% N/A Compared to 2014 fuel mix
V2I ITS 2% 3% 4% 7% N/A Much higher potential in other operations (urban and local)
Road maintenance 3% 3% 5% 5% Moderate Benefits also generated for other road users


From 2013 to 2018





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Lars Akkermans, Tim Breemersch
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