European Parliament votes for heavier trucks across borders

The European Parliament voted last week for the revision of the European Weights and Dimensions Directive, which would allow 44-ton combinations to cross the borders of member states more easily. This would increase efficiency and lower emissions per cargo unit, but it might also give diesel trucks a more significant advantage.

The door has also remained open for 60-ton ‘gigaliners’, also called ‘ecocombis’, which consist of one tractor and two trailer units with a total length of over 25 meters. Adding more weight to existing trucks increases the price and environmental efficiency per ton of payload, but it also comes at a cost.

Currently, the maximum weight limit of heavy cargo trucks differs between states, with some allowing 44-ton combinations but others sticking to a 40-ton limit. The European Parliament has now voted to increase the limit to 44 tons EU-wide to make international transport more efficient.

There is no advantage to electric trucks

Transport & Environment has warned that increasing the weight limit without any differentiation between diesel and zero-emission trucks would increase diesel’s advantage, as battery-electric trucks carry more weight in the batteries and have a lower payload.

The non-profit pleads only to increase the weight limit of e-trucks, but for now, this split between powertrains will only happen in 2035, when the EU moves to drastically lower CO2 emissions from road transport.

Gigaliners can also be made electric, but their shorter range and smaller payload make them less attractive /DAF

Gigaliners set for international usage

As for the gigaliners, the dissenting voices in the European Parliament expressed their concern about road degradation and emissions, as again, these would be more interesting to use with a conventional diesel tractor.

Several countries, like Belgium and the Netherlands, already allow these vehicles but are under stricter regulations. In Belgium, transport companies must apply for a specific route and get a permit to use them. If the Weights and Dimensions Directive is amended, these 25.25-meter-long and 60-ton heavy trucks might also be used internationally.


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