Category: New cars

In The Grip Of Standards

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In The Grip Of Standards
In The Grip Of Standards





For the sixtieth time, Hanover arranges a truck and bus interior. Among the exhibition capitals of Europe, this German city, like Frankfurt, boasts huge expositions - to run around all the stands, a whole day is not enough. Traditionally, at the end of September, for “even years”, visitors and journalists were received by the “cargo” Hannover, and by the odd years, it was “passenger” Frankfurt.

After reviewing the statistics of sales of commercial vehicles in Europe over the past three years, it is difficult to be optimistic. Since 2001, less and less trucks are sold - by 2–4% per year. The lion's share is made up of cars with a gross weight of 2 to 3.5 tons - they are already more than 56%. A lot of heavy trucks with a gross weight of more than 16 tons - almost 18%. But delivery pickups and vans based on cars, like medium-sized trucks, are rapidly losing popularity - the number of registered cars with a gross weight of 3.5 to 7.5 tons has fallen by almost a half.

Transport is becoming increasingly complex and streamlined at the same time. With the development of logistics, large warehouses and stores outside the cities come to the fore. Heavy trucks serve them, and for local needs there are enough cars up to 3.5 tons, classified as “B”.


The characteristics of heavy machines of different manufacturers are written as a copy: a two-axle truck tractor and a three-axle semi-trailer, a gross weight of 40 tons, a diesel engine is usually from 380 to 520 liters. with. Technically, they look like twins, although the designers are doing everything possible so that even a passerby, God forbid, does not confuse Volvo with Scania and Mercedes with MAN.

The culprits of the resemblance are European standards that squeezed the fantasies of engineers in a tight framework. However, it is likely that the head of the "European standard" will soon fall - directive No. 96/53 / EC, regulating the length and mass of the road train. Successful experiments have proved that with the switch to 25.25-meter and 60-ton trains, the required number of flights is reduced by one third, the tractor operating costs by 23%, and fuel consumption and harmful emissions by 15%. Convincing arguments, isn't it?

And what about passenger transport? After much discussion, the European Parliament in 2002, by its directive 2002/7 / EC, allowed the operation of triaxial single buses up to 15 m long and biaxial up to 13.5 m. The length of articulated buses can now reach 18.75 m. However, the problem turned out to be completely not in length, but in capacity. The mass of a two-axle bus should not exceed 18 tons, although engineers do not see technical problems with 19.5 tons. However, in France the restriction is set at 19 tons, and in liberal Holland even 21.5 tons. Naturally, this places manufacturers in unequal conditions. Buses from the Netherlands can do without light materials and therefore be cheaper (although heavier) with the same capacity.

In urban cars, some problems are caused only by the layout of the cabin, in which now it is necessary to provide a place for a wheelchair. In modern low-floor buses, it is located opposite the middle door. By the way, there are few real low-floor workers with three doors and a flat floor along the entire length of the car. Two-door cars with a raised floor in the rear are cheaper and can cope with relaxed routes.


The efforts of European bureaucrats are not in vain. More and more attention is paid to the regulation and taxation of transport. But how much does the economy win? Modern European trucks are distinguished by complexity and high cost.

Here, for example, how achievements in the field of ecology are given. Having defeated carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons in Euro III, in the fourth standard they took up soot, demanding to reduce its content by five. Now nitrogen oxides are next in line - the most difficult to deal with. The war goes on two fronts: increasing exhaust gas recirculation and, as a result, lowering the temperature of combustion and the formation of nitrogen oxides and neutralizing exhaust.

The easiest way is a neutralizer, in which nitric oxide, interacting with ammonia, turns into harmless nitrogen and water. Pure ammonia is volatile and toxic (remember ammonia), but it can be used in the form of other chemical compounds. For example, AdBlue reagent, which is refilled in a separate tank and consumed with fuel. It is essentially an aqueous solution of urea. I will not venture to simplify its description further. It turns out that Vasily Alibabaevich from The Gentlemen of Fortune was unjustly convicted …

Despite not the most noble composition, AdBlue converters are very effective: they can reduce the level of nitrogen oxides in the exhaust by 95%. Euro III engines with their help will be laid on nitrogen oxides in Euro V standards (will come into force in 2008).

And now - a cold shower. According to German federal environmental authorities in 2003, in actual operation, most trucks do not confirm the declared characteristics. Euro II certified cars do not always “fall” even into Euro I. But this doesn’t bother legislators at all - they only increase the pressure on manufacturers, demanding more and more “clean” technologies.

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