Double Trailer from SEAT Better for Environment?

SEAT is claiming the largest and most efficient truck in Europe could halve the number of commercial trailers on the road and lower CO2 emissions per trip by 20%, writes Paul Myles.

In league with logistics specialist Grupo Sesé, the Spanish automaker has carried out a pilot test to analyze the performance of its new duo trailer. The test journey was made from Zaragoza to the SEAT headquarters in Martorell and will be repeated in upcoming months while transporting components.

The duo trailer features two linked trailers pulled by a truck with a Scania cab, totally 31.70 meters (104 feet) in length with and a maximum payload capacity of 69 tons (154,324 lbs). On top of savings on CO2 emissions, SEAT claims it cuts the logistics costs of transporting components by 25%. Designed for travelling on high capacity roads, the automaker also claims it will reduce the number of trucks that travel on conventional roads, where the highest number of road accidents take place.

Benefits open to debate

However, if experience of European truck enlargement in the 1980s is anything to go by, the opposite could be true because reduced logistics costs persuaded organizations to operate more trucks at the cost of the more eco-friendly but expensive option of rail transportation. These also had a greater impact on road network infrastructure, a cost borne by tax-payers and not the companies benefitting from the vehicle enlargement.

Nonetheless, SEAT vice-president for production and logistics Dr Christian Vollmer said: “The duo trailer has the capacity to reduce by 50% the number of trucks on the road and this implies huge benefits in terms of sustainability, environmental responsibility, safety and efficiency. Innovation is at the core of SEAT and these tests are in the same spirit that led us to bring the mega truck to Spain two years ago in partnership with Grupo Sesé.”

For the time being, this research study will conclude with a report to demonstrate the performance and benefits of this new vehicle regarding emissions reduction, efficiency and road safety so that in the near future its use can be standardized in Spain. Grupo Sesé managing director Ángel Pueyo added: “The added advantage of this means of transport to reducing road accidents and emissions and cost savings is its versatility and the way it promotes multimodality and improves efficiency and sustainability.”

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