France and Sweden push to delay new lorry designs
Manufacturers would not be allowed to use new lorry designs earlier than the deadline, which would be delayed until 2025.
France and Sweden are seeking to water down legislation designed to make lorries in the European Union safer and greener, according to documents seen by European Voice. The French delegation will push member states to delay the new designs by ten years during a meeting of member state representatives tomorrow (16 May). Council sources say other member states are receptive to the French idea.
The European Parliament voted to back the European Commission’s proposal last month. The proposal would require lorry manufacturers to use the new lorry designs from 2022. It would allow manufacturers to deviate from current type approval rules and start using the new designs as soon as the directive is transposed by member states, which would take place between 2015 and 2017.
The new design would make the front of lorry cabs rounder – lessening wind resistance and decreasing the risk of death to passengers and cyclists who are hit. The new design would also make it easier for lorry drivers to see cyclists.
But a proposal circulated to other member states by France and Sweden would eliminate the transition period in which manufacturers can opt to use the new design. Under this alternative proposal, there would only be one hard deadline for mandatory use of the new designs in 2025. Manufacturers would not be allowed to use the new designs before then.
The move is a result of pressure from Swedish vehicle manufacturer Volvo, which owns French manufacturer Renault, according to an industry source. Volvo has new trucks coming up for type approval shortly and is concerned that it would face a competitive disadvantage against other manufacturers who start using the new designs early.
A spokesperson for Volvo said the company’s position is consistent with the rest of the automotive industry – that significant lead time is needed before these new designs can be in place. He said the issue is too complex to have some manufacturers using the designs earlier than others.
“It needs to be a stable situation for the whole of the European truck manufacturing industry, in order to secure that we have a competition-neutral regulation, which is what the whole of the industry is requesting.” he said.
But environmental campaigners, who say the new designs are a no-brainer for fuel savings, say they can’t understand the need for a delay. “It is ludicrous to argue that industry needs a ten-year lead time to comply with a law that enables, not obliges, safer lorry cabs,” said William Todts of green transport group T&E. “EU governments should think twice before they back France and Sweden on this.”
Member states are expected to agree a first reading position in the next two weeks. They will then have to negotiate with the new European Parliament after MEPs take their seats in July. Rapporteur Jörg Leichtfried, a centre-left Austrian MEP, is staying in the Parliament and will lead negotiations on behalf of MEPs.
Source: European Vocie
In: Connectivity & Automation