As the EU Commission is discussing a modification of the 96/53/EU guideline, niche vehicles like Kögel’s Euro Trailer return to the spotlight.
Based on a White Paper first presented in 2011, the EU Commission is currently discussing ways to make road transport more resource-efficient by giving OEMs more freedom in truck and trailer design.
The European Commission proposals would adapt the 96/53/EU Weight and Dimensions Directive to allow truck OEMs to create more rounded shapes and add aerodynamic flaps; and trailer designers to design longer, more efficient trailers.
While field trials are now underway all over Europe, some ‘oversized’ niche vehicles have been around for several years already – including Kögel’s Euro model, which is 1.3m longer than a standard model.
“Even before the field trials for innovative commercial vehicles, around 300 Kögel Euro trailers – at that time still called the ‘Big Maxx’ – were running on German roads with exception permits and were able to demonstrate the [fuel saving] benefits,” Thomas Eschey, Technology Manager at Kögel, said in a recent statement.
“With a length of 14.9 metres, the capacity of the Euro Trailer increases by 10 m³, making it both more economical and more environmentally friendly,” said Eschey. “With stacked loading, this allows you to transport up to eight more pallets. This results in a substantial reduction in fuel consumption per pallet transported.”
While Kögel’s original 300 extended trailers continue to run inconspicuously on roads throughout Germany with exception permits, all newly registered Euro Trailers since the start of 2012 are included in the field trials for innovative commercial vehicles.
Although the European Commission has not made an official statement as yet, OEMs are already eager to start working on the next generation of commercial vehicles. If the proposals are approved, futuristic-looking curvy trucks and oversized trailers could be on the road by 2018.
EU Directive 96/53/EU was set up to define the maximum weights and dimensions of heavy-duty vehicles operating in the EU, ensuring fair competition between transport businesses within the Union.
Under certain circumstances and in line with the principle of subsidiarity, the directive also permits member states to provide derogations from the provisions within their own borders, and in some cases, even allows for deviation from the provisions for length and width.