New GFEI report provides first estimate for fuel efficiency potential of HDVs

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Oscar Delgado, Senior Researcher at ICCT
Oscar Delgado, Senior Researcher at ICCT

The Global Fuel Economy Initiative has launched a ground-breaking new report which provides a first estimate for the fuel efficiency potential of HDVs in different markets.

The study, led by GFEI partner the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) models potential improvements in fuel efficiency over the 2020 to 2040 timeframe in order to determine the potential for improvement in the EU, US, Brazil, India, and China. It does this by applying ‘technology packages’ that represent the most advanced applicable technologies that have been either commercialized or demonstrated to be commercially available by 2030, to a baseline tractor-trailer and a representative rigid delivery truck. Three possible emission and fuel consumption reduction scenarios are developed to quantify the range of possible benefits over time – ‘incremental’, ‘moderate’ and ‘accelerated’.

The study finds that full deployment of heavy-duty vehicle efficiency technology would result in energy savings of close to 9 million barrels of oil per day in the year 2035 in the accelerated scenario. This would be equivalent to almost 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions avoided per year in 2035. China and India each represent about one quarter of these potential long-term oil savings and climate benefits due to their growing freight activity. These two markets are followed by the US, Europe, and Brazil in terms of having the most potential energy and carbon savings from realizing their technology potential.

The most consistent result is that losses from engine inefficiencies are always greater than 50% of total energy loss. Although there exist theoretical limits to internal combustion engine efficiency, this result indicates that technologies to improve engine efficiency would have wide-ranging applicability across segments and markets. It also shows that there is potential for fuel consumption reduction in the range of 40%-52% for tractor-trailers and 30%-36% for rigid delivery trucks across all regions assessed, with trucks sold in the EU having the smallest potential and trucks sold in India having the largest potential in both segments.

GFEI’S Executive Secretary Sheila Watson, said “We are very excited to be releasing this new piece of research. The issue of fuel efficiency and heavy duty vehicles is a complex one, and the central contribution of this study is that it has begun to address these issues.”

Download GFEI Working Paper 14 here