Help your members identify proven, cost-effective technologies for their fleets and freight operations by providing impartial guidance, expertise, and information on manufacturers’ claims regarding improved freight technologies. Without an objective test protocol, it is difficult to assess and compare the emissions and fuel efficiency impacts aftermarket products (e.g., low rolling resistance tires) or new vehicle advances (e.g., improved aerodynamics or engine design). A standard testing process that compares the emissions and fuel efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles under comparable operating conditions representative of real world driving will help your program establish eligibility criteria for the next generation of technologies.
Before diving in, first conduct some background research on which technologies and practices are the best fit for the freight industry in your region. Follow these initial steps:
Identify Key Technologies. Different freight systems will rely on different technologies to achieve cost savings and more efficient performance. For example, in some countries, freight carriers are ready to improve tires, while in others aerodynamic cab design or anti idling measures offer the largest opportunities. Take some time to analyze your freight industry to determine which technologies would be most applicable to your members and could be adopted easily with better information, market penetration, financial incentives, and other mechanisms.
Investigate Alternatives. Once you have identified some key technologies, look into test protocols and verification programs that might already cover those technologies. Many, if not most, of the major technologies serving freight are manufactured to established verification protocols. So, take advantage of the work others have conducted in this area by existing adopting standards.
Establishing and maintaining technology verification programs can be challenging and costly—especially for a new green freight program. If your program elects to establish its own technology verification program, consider working with a third-party organization, such as an association, nongovernmental organization, or manufacturers group, and asking them to manage a technology verification program. Another strategy to save resources is to establish a reciprocal arrangement with an existing technology verification program so that protocols and standards are shared across programs and verification of one technology by one program is recognized and accepted by the other. Regardless of who manages the effort, closely involving manufacturers and testing facilities is imperative so that they are aware of the purpose of the program and the importance of impartial testing and quality control.
Develop Verification Process. Test protocols are a key element in a larger overall verification process. Consider establishing a verification process that follows these steps:
- A technology manufacturer submits an initial application.
- Program administrators resolve questions (if any) with the manufacturer, then accept the application.
- The program applies test protocols specific to the technology in the application. Testing is usually performed at an outside testing facility and the manufacturer pays all associated costs.
- Once testing is complete, the manufacturer submits the test results to the program for review.
- The program administrator reviews test results and data to determine if the technology qualifies for verification.
- If the technology qualifies, the program administrator notifies manufacturer and makes the verification public so that end users can know that the technology has passed quality and performance testing.
- If the manufacturer modifies the technology, the manufacturer must update the documentation on file with the program. The program may determine that the changes require additional testing to maintain the verification.