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OEM: Trucking ‘Should be ‘Proud’ of Environmental Advancements

Speaking at the NTEA’s annual Green Truck Summit, Wilfried Achenbach, Daimler Trucks North America’s senior vice president – engineering and technology, says diesel engines continue to be the industry’s “workhorse” due to their high torque, ease to refuel and long-life, but the technology is changing along with other truck components.

As reported by Today’s Trucking, Achenbach said the modern diesel engine has come a long way. Gone are the days of black smoke from exhaust stacks, thanks to a steady rollout of new emissions-reducing technology that has virtually eliminated smog-producing NOx, particulate matter, and on pace to drastically reduce GHGs. In fact, a 1998 truck produces 35 times more NOx and 60 times more PM than an EPA10 equivalent, he said.

“What we’ve accomplished as an industry, we can be proud.”

But, he added, there is work to be done if the industry is to meet GHG targets. While accounting for a smaller share overall, long-haul heavy-duty trucks remain the most significant lever to shift carbon dioxide emissions, he said.

The good news is that gains have been made. “We are not starting from scratch,” Achenbach said, referring to the first phase of Greenhouse Gas regulations, and a second phase that begins to roll out in 2018. Combination tractors alone will see fuel efficiency boost 20, 23 and 25% in 2021, ’24 and ’27 model years.

“In the foreseeable future, 10 miles per gallon will become the new normal for tractor-trailer combinations,” he said. “We don’t have to wait 10 years. This is going to happen faster.”

The improvements, however, will involve looking at a broad range of systems, such as weight, aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance. “Tire pressure, for me, is one of the underutilized levers we have today,” Achenbach says.

But the Daimler executive stressed that electric vehicles are not the answer on their own.

Electricity still has a carbon footprint. “Electricity is not free environmentally. Not as it is today,” Achenbach said, noting how 39% of electricity comes from burning coal.

“Be careful that you take everything into the equation that might contribute to emissions,” he said.

Full Today’s Trucking story here.

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