Modular Vehicle Transport

What are modular vehicles? Modular vehicles are designed for transporting heavy loads in highly versatile vehicles.

What is a megatruck? A megatruck is a large articulated vehicle consisting of a tractor unit with a 7.8m trailer and an additional trailer that is 13.6m long.

What is a duo-trailer? The duo-trailer is a set of vehicles originating from northern regions, which are used to transport goods that are 31.75m in length and have a maximum authorized mass (MMA) of 70 tons.

Why are we bringing this new way of driving to Spain? The DGT wanted to implement a new experimental project to authorize the circulation of customers with these trucks for testing and research purposes.

This type of vehicle is competing with the category of megatrucks, which are legal in Spain. The mega trucks have more than 6 axles, 25.25 m in length and 60 tons of MMA. This vehicle also requires a special permit, as we mentioned in previous posts.

What advantages do modular vehicles offer?

The advantages offered by this type of vehicle are as follows:

  • Cost reduction, with fuel savings of 25%.
  • Best weight distribution per axle with a total of 70 tons per axle distribution
  • Lower CO2 emissions per ton and km
  • Reduced noise emissions
  • Fewer vehicles on the road
  • Increased amount of cargo transported, as well as volume to be transported
  • Tractor units continue to be used, without change
  • No costly investments are required
  • Possibility to combine with rail transport

What does the transport sector think of modular vehicle transport?

With the goal of promoting the use of megatrucks, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) aims to decarbonize through the inclusion of rules for cross-border operations, something that is not yet being implemented in the European Union.

The megatruck transports much more cargo than a standard vehicle. Therefore, if instead of three traditional vehicles, a trip is made with two megatrucks, not only the number of vehicles on the road is reduced, but also the fuel consumption per kilometer. This consumption can be reduced by up to 35%, depending on various factors such as weight and adverse conditions.

This means that if the use of modular vehicle transport is gradually increased by 30%, it will help reduce CO2 emissions by a total of 237 million tons per year.

According to the IRU, with road freight transport, if the implementation of these modular vehicles is tripled by 2050, emissions could increase to a total of 700 million tons.

Implementation of modular vehicles in Spain

Currently, there are more than 1,000 mega-trucks traveling on national roads. Plus, more than 100 duo-trailers are operating on Spanish roads.

In Spain, the Directorate General of Traffic conducts rigorous and thorough monitoring of research projects on the operation of modular vehicles carried out in universities and R&D laboratories. This allows them to obtain clear and meaningful data on emissions, routes, consumption, and itineraries.

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