Heavy-Duty Vehicle 6x2 Drive Knowledge Gap Briefing

Transport Canada asked the National Research Council Canada (NRC) Automotive and Surface Transportation experts to evaluate heavy-duty 6x2 drive technology. Their study assessed the implications of its use for Canada, and develop a test plan for collecting the data needed to evaluate the technology against Canadian operational requirements.

The scope of this study includes three main tasks. The NRC will:

  1. Review the available literature to assess the current global state of 6x2 drive highway tractors
  2. Analyze the information they discover in the literature review
  3. Develop a test plan to characterize the use of 6x2 drive highway tractors in Canadian environments

Their study was limited to information and data on 6x2 drive highway tractors in scientific journals, technical publications and promotional literature. Their report aimed to objectively characterize the various implications of using 6x2 drive tractors in Canada. It classifies the findings into two separate perspectives: the regulatory perspective and the fleet operator perspective.

From a regulatory perspective, we know there are varying degrees to which 6x2 drive tractors are allowed and practical in the provinces. British Columbia, for example, explicitly prohibits 6x2 drives, while the remaining provinces implicitly restrict their use through axle load regulations.

The impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fuel savings varies, and depends on the rate of 6x2 sales and the amount of fuel savings. If Canada allows the sale of 6x2 drive technology and sees a market uptake rate of 2.5% as in the U.S., using 6x2 drive technology within Canada could save roughly 5.34 million to 15.3 million litres of fuel each year. This translates to producing nearly 14,200 to 40,900 fewer tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

From a fleet operator perspective, using 6x2 drive tractors to increase efficiencies can be highly sensitive to a fleet's operations. Fleet owners must carefully weigh the reduced traction and increased tire wear against any fuel savings they may expect, because these factors are not independent of one another.

The full report can be found at: Heavy-Duty Vehicle 6x2 Drive Knowledge Gap Briefing

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