Euro 6 for trucks, much more than a win for the environment

I was also pleased to report that two Truck Industry Council (TIC) members first released selected Euro 6 models for sale in Australia back in 2015. Last year this grew to four brands and these manufacturers will be joined by at least two more with Euro 6–model offerings in 2017. I detailed that this proactive action by TIC members is happening years before the likely mandated introduction of Euro 6-and-equivalent standards for heavy vehicles, sometime beyond 2020.

While the government’s vehicle emission agenda is focused on a cleaner environment for the health of our population, there are other benefits that a move to Euro 6-and-equivalent emission standards will realise for our country. These additional benefits are in part the reason that some truck manufacturers have chosen to release Euro 6-and-equivalent model trucks into our market well before they are legally required to do so by government. Let me explain:

Australia principally is a ‘technology taker’ in the automotive industry, with much of the ‘smarts’ found in today’s cars and trucks developed offshore. In the truck space this development typically happens in Europe, Japan and the US and is then adapted for use in Australia. Increasingly these technologies and systems are intertwined and integrated as we have never seen before.

For example, Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems (AEBSs) take control of brake, transmission and engine functions to slow or stop the vehicle when danger is detected ahead of the vehicle, or Lane Keep Assist Systems (LKASs) similarly override steering and brake controls to keep a truck tracking within lane markings. To achieve these levels of automation and safety, many components and systems in the truck need to communicate with each other and, in many cases, this cannot be achieved with the aging electrical architecture found in our existing Euro 5 trucks. This reality has encouraged some TIC members to expedite their product plans, moving to Euro 6-and-equivalent models with these added safety features and benefits for their Australian customers.

Another benefit of a move to Euro VI-and-equivalent engines is typically better fuel economy, a bottom line benefit for owners and operators. With the US having introduced mandated fuel economy savings for trucks sold in the country since 2014 and with similar measures being developed in Japan and Europe, a move to Euro VI-and-equivalent engine technologies in Australia will allow these fuel saving benefits to be brought to operators in the land down under. Adding these benefits to our current Euro V engines is either impractical or impossible due to the now quite dated base technology. From 2014 to 2020, US truck manufactures have to find fuel savings in the order of 20 per cent, and similar savings are planned for European markets and Japan. Bringing this technology to Australia would be a huge win for our road transport industry, but it will only be possible with a move to Euro 6-and-equivalent Japanese and US engine emission standards.

While the mandated introduction of Euro 6-and-equivalent emission standards for heavy (and light) vehicles is still some years away, many TIC members are taking voluntary action to introduce this clean engine technology to our shores now – technology that will improve air quality and the health of all Australians, however the benefits don’t end there. These trucks will also herald a new era of safety features such as electronic stability control, AEBS, LKAS and more, technologies that will deliver improved safety outcomes for all road users. And with mandated fuel economy savings in the domestic markets of Europe, Japan and the US, Euro VI-and-equivalent emission standard engines will bring operator fuel savings that will in turn reduce Australia’s road transport CO2 footprint.

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