How truck manufacturers can reduce emissions fines with expert aerodynamics

For truck manufacturers, carbon footprint targets are poised to stamp all over their bottom line. 

The existing VECTO (Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool) legislation is due to tighten considerably, with targets based on 2020 baseline measurements reducing by a whopping 15% from 2025. That means truck manufacturers will be heavily fined for every gram of CO2 per kilometre that exceeds the limit. In addition, there are new targets for trailers starting at the beginning of 2024, although monetary penalties are yet to be announced. 

Is aerodynamics the answer? 

It’s a costly business for manufacturers especially since there is still no clear way of improving trucks to make these targets easier to achieve. So why are they not considering the savings that aerodynamics are proven to yield? 

The truth is that trucks are fitted with some aerodynamic kit, but it’s not best in class. The work that we do at Aerodyne to understand the best combinations, savings and return on investment has given us the data to prove we could enable truck manufacturers to go much further when it comes to further savings on both carbon and fuel costs. 

Dealers can retrofit our kit but a better solution for everyone would be to change the original designs and make truck manufacturing a viable industry again. 

Trailer aerodynamics are a double win 

Even greater improvements can be made to aerodynamics when it comes to the trailers towed by the trucks. With the fast-approaching date for more legislation in relation to trailers, this is an issue that needs addressing soon. For example, putting side skirts on a trailer will easily save 3-5% of CO2, and a further 2-3% can be saved by fitting a boat tail.  

In the UK, our use of double height trailers is more efficient, especially when coupled with Aerodyne’s deflectors which vastly improve aerodynamics between the cab and the higher trailer. 

Rounded cabs and corners can save in the region of 1-2% and – here comes the double win – these modifications will improve the aerodynamics on the truck itself, thus helping to save on those painful fines.  A finely tuned aerodynamic trailer can achieve a 10% saving and so, from a business case perspective, the savings in fuel and carbon that come with these modifications easily offset the cost of fitting them. 

VECTO is enforced across all vehicles in Europe and applies to trucks weighing over 7.5tonnes* in the UK. VECTO for buses and coaches remains a further option for the UK and, as a result of us being post-Brexit transition, is currently still in discussion. 

*Important note: the vehicle commonly referred to as a 7.5tonne lorry typically weighs 7,450kg. It is therefore NOT subject to the VECTO legislation. 

There’s no doubt that stringent targets are being placed on the industry. COP27 will no doubt double down on these as 2030 and the target of zero-emission transport looms. 

If you’re interested in finding out how aerodynamics could reduce your carbon footprint and fuel costs, we carry out initial assessments by auditing your existing fleet and proposing changes. With our mantra being “if we can’t save you money, we’ll tell you”, you’ve got nothing to lose by booking a slot.

Contact or call +44 (0) 1778 422000.