On March 13  European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, opened a new facility for testing fuel consumption and emissions of trucks and buses. The new installation, “VELA 7” at the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra (Northern Italy), realistically simulates wind drag, tyre/road friction and full drive cycles for real-life articulated lorries of up to 40 tonnes or 12m long buses. It comes at a crucial time since implementation guidelines for new emission standards, notably the Euro VI regarding heavy duty vehicles, must be defined by 1st April 2010. “Today, Europe’s freight transport by trucks reaches 1888 billion tonne-kilometers every year; increasing trucks efficiency will significantly reduce fuel consumption. The Commission’s new facility will make a great contribution to the Commission’s priorities in these areas.”

The new high-tech test facility, the seventh in a series of Vehicle Emission Laboratories (VELA), contains an impressive roller bench in a climatic chamber to test exhaust gases from heavy duty vehicles with top- notch measuring equipment. It will enable JRC researchers to tackle the challenges in implementing current, and developing future, emission standards for lorries and buses by using test cycles that are very close to real life conditions. The JRC has already played a key role in underpinning European legislation on air pollution from road transport. Just recently, it has supported the detailed implementation of the CO2 emission-limits for cars approved by the Council and the European Parliament in December 2008.For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/jrc/index.cfm?id=5420