More technology taken into consideration in Phase 2 of EPA emission standards

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With Phase 2 of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) greenhouse gas emission standards currently being ironed out, for the first time, upfitters will see opportunities to gain emissions credits.

During a panel discussion at the Green Truck Summit today (March 14), Matthew Spears, center director of heavy-duty diesel standards for the EPA, outlined the differences between the first and second phases of the fuel efficiency rules, saying Phase 2 reaches much further into the technology pot to include such items as the chassis (tires, light-weight materials and inflation systems), powertrain (engine, transmission and axle), idle reduction (automatic engine shutdown, stop-start and hybrids), as well as additional credits for aerodynamic and all-electric options.

The chassis manufacturer will also provide the upfitter with ‘delegated assembly’ instructions for technology installation, which Spears said will create a compliance responsibility for the manufacturer, as well as the upfitter.

Delegated assembly allows an OEM to claim emission credits to the EPA for upfitter installed technologies. On the other hand, an upfitter can work out an agreement with a chassis manufacturer to retain the emissions credits for the installation of a fuel-reducing technology, such as aerodynamic fairings.

Tires were the lone item included in the first phase of the GHG emissions standards for vocational vehicles, a point of contention for Ken McAlinden, manager for on-board diagnostics and regulatory compliance for the Ford Motor Company, who said it was too narrow in scope and failed to take other factors into consideration.

McAlinden said GEM, which is a computer simulation of the technology used on a truck to determine emission credit value of any given technology, is better used in the second phase, as it takes more into account when looking at a vehicle’s emission curbing efforts.

Rob Stevens, vice-president of strategy and engineering for upfitter Roush CleanTech, said although Phase 2 is a more complex model, it presented an avenue and path for upfitters to get to where they need to be.

“It really does spell opportunity for all of us,” said Stevens, adding that upfitters will be able to work more closely with OEMs and be more a part of the entire process of meeting the new EPA standards.

Stevens said that in the end, what customers really want to see from the EPA rules is a benefit to them, and that when fleets see a reduction in their fuel usage, it is the benefit they are looking for.

Spears said the EPA does not require any specific type of technology to be used in its first two phases of the GHG rules, just that a certain standard be achieved.

He added that there were several changes to Phase 2 from its original proposal due to the amount of stakeholder feedback the EPA garnered leading up to the drafting of the new rules.

“We tried to make it a very interactive process,” said Spears.

In the process of establishing a pathway to meet the new emission standards, Spears said the EPA did not assume an OEM would have to use delegated assembly with an upfitter, but if they did and it works out cheaper to get there, it would benefit both parties.

Full implementation of Phase 1 will be achieved by 2018 and was first introduced in 2014. The ruling on Phase 2 is not yet final.

A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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