TIC backs tougher emissions testing regime

By: Rob McKay

Truck-maker organisation sees need for national fleet modernisation to aid reduction effort

TIC backs tougher emissions testing regime
Real-world emissions testing has support


The Truck Industry Council (TIC) fully supports ‘real world’ testing for heavy vehicle emissions and backs federal government plans to introduce the next step in Australian Design Rule (ADR) controls.

In response to an international report on diesel emissions, particularly nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), and the likely impact of ADR80/04 (Euro VI/Euro 6/) limits to trucks and light commercial vehicles, TIC chief technical officer Mark Hammond points to its March final submission to December’s draft regulatory impact statement (RIS) for 'vehicle emission standards for cleaner air'.  

The RIS is part of a very measured government approach to the new rules, begun in November 2015.

In its submission, TIC highlights that the most significant heavy vehicle exhaust emission issue facing Australia is its very old truck fleet, with 47 per cent of the on-road registered fleet built before 2003 and therefore must meet little or no exhaust emission requirements.

"So a few ‘super clean’ Euro VI trucks are not going to fix Australia’s air quality issues, not unless operators upgrade," Hammond says.

"That is why we are also calling on the government to give incentives for Euro VI trucks, such as more axle and gross vehicle mass, tax breaks, lower registration charges, low or no interest loans, or even an up-front grant/payment for the purchase of a Euro VI truck."

He notes that four TIC members have Euro 6 models available here with at least another two launching Euro VI models this year.

"No doubt more will follow, all well before we see the mandated introduction of Euro VI in Australia," he adds, noting that, despite some comments to the contrary, "these Euro VI trucks are running reliably and returning as good and in most cases better, fuel economy than their Euro V counterparts".

In the US, non-profit diesel propulsion group Diesel Technology Forum (DTF) also backs higher testing standards, pointing out that technical and regulatory developments have seen extraordinarily low emissions as a market reality.

"Diesel engine, truck and equipment makers today produce diesel engines that are certified by various government agencies to achieve near-zero levels for emissions of both nitrogen oxides and particulate matter," DTF the executive director Allen Schaeffer says.

"Emissions certification tests conducted in laboratory settings are the standard established by government, and have always been recognized as an imperfect measure, but it is the governing system.

"Laboratory tests are not designed to replicate all real-world conditions that a vehicle and driver may encounter or create.  

"It is common knowledge that manufacturers and regulators in the EU and the US have been working together to develop more representative tests for in use vehicle and engine performance, and that work is ongoing."

DTF points out that the portion of nitrogen oxide emissions – the primary focus of the international report – attributed to on road diesel engines is less than 20 per cent of all global NOx emissions and that essential their improvement is the availability of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. 

"It’s important to understand that diesel has been a technology of continuous improvement, meaning that today’s generation of new diesel technology is lower in emissions and more efficient than one built 10 or even five years ago," Schaeffer says.  

"Older technology engines met the standards in place at the time, and as this study points out, standards have become progressively more stringent.

"Some study areas find that diesel engine popularity in the marketplace grew very fast while the adoption of new emissions control requirements and emissions reducing technology development were taking longer to implement. 

"In the US, new technology diesel trucks and buses have reduced NOx emissions by more than 95 percent compared to older models. 

"Today, it would take 60 new diesel trucks to equal the same emissions from one pre-1988 truck.

"NOx emissions are just one of several contributors to air pollution, including ground level ozone. 

"There are many sources of NOx emissions, including power plants, industrial activity and mobile sources like cars, trucks and off-road equipment."

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