White paper

The future of VECTO: CO2 certification of advanced heavy-duty vehicles in the European Union

To meet upcoming mandatory fleet-average reductions in CO2, heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers will have to introduce fuel-efficient technologies at a faster rate than they have done in past decades. To meet these future regulatory requirements, the CO2 certification framework should cover vehicles and advanced technologies that are not currently being captured. This report identifies the challenges that the CO2 standards create for the certification procedure and puts forward recommendations to overcome them in a timely manner.

The main findings are:

  • A simple simulation approach covering only parallel hybrids can enable the certification of products close to production. More-accurate testing protocols can be developed in a second step. Powertrain testing is recommended as a wide-encompassing certification pathway.
  • Electric range certification should be prioritized, as it is a prerequisite for the development of effective incentives in hard-to-electrify segments. The simulation of electric powertrains is less complicated than the simulation of hybrid ones. The rapidly growing electric truck portfolio in the EU warrants a prioritization over hybrid trucks.
  • The current certification methodology partially covers waste heat recover (WHR) systems, although with several limitations. The cycle-average mapping methodology, developed in the United States, is a certification option that overcomes some of these limitations.
  • Introducing a trailer CO2 certification is necessary to add trailers as a regulatory category in the future and to incentivize the development and deployment of trailer technologies. To minimize the certification burden on manufacturers, it is desirable to set a simple regulatory design that accurately estimates CO2 reductions from trailers.
  • Innovative technology credits can incentivize the development and uptake of technologies not yet captured by the certification process. However, they require a robust and transparent regulatory design with proper oversight. Such credits should be regarded as a stepping stone towards implementation in the CO2 certification framework.