Why have we created this calculator?
Knowledge is the path to change, and by calculating the entire lifecycle of our trucks it’s possible to make better decisions towards reducing the impact of the transport that our societies rely upon.
It is not enough to just look at emissions when the truck is on the road. Instead, we must look at everything from where the raw materials come from, how much energy and materials we consume, how much emissions our factories release and how we can make recycling efficient. This is why, for example, we created the first CO2 neutral automotive factory in the world.
We hope that this transparency will lead to our customers seeing the benefit of a holistic approach, so that together we can take responsibility for sustainable transportation becoming a reality.
How can we be better at reducing our environmental footprint? The first step is to know what our impact is. That’s why we have developed the Environmental Footprint Calculator, so that all of us can make smarter and more sustainable decisions.
We are facing a future which depends on humanity taking responsibility for how we use the planet’s resources and the impact we have on the environment. It’s a perspective that requires us to look at the full picture: how our trucks are produced, how much emissions they release, and how they can be recycled.
Volvo Trucks is proud that we can claim to have the facts of the full lifecycle impact. That is how we can take responsibility.
Director Environment and Innovation Volvo Trucks
Looking at the full lifecycle
The Environmental Footprint Calculator is based on a Full Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) that uses a cradle-to-grave approach. It’s a method developed together with research institutions and it takes in all of the activities during production, use, and end-of-life phases of the truck that have a significant environmental impact. This includes everything from raw material extraction to disposal or recycling of produced scrap.
We have used the LCA methodology at Volvo Trucks since the early 1990s and it has been the foundation for our Environmental Footprint Calculator.
Knowledge for a sustainable future
When calculating the entire lifecycle, we divide it into five sections: materials and production, fuel, exhaust emissions, maintenance and end-of-life treatment (recycling). More than 90% of a regular diesel truck’s environmental impact occurs during actual vehicle use. Filling rate, logistics, weight and length, co-modality, eco driving and the environmental footprint calculator, are all parts of the big picture when improving the environmental impact of transportation.
One of the greatest things about lowering the impact of trucks is that transport is part of most product lifecycles, and almost everything that you see around you has at some point been transported by a truck. Increasing the knowledge in transportation companies is key of course, but in the wider sense it is desirable to raise awareness throughout society, so that companies can ask fleet owners to meet their requirements regarding environmental standards.
Making the next generation trucks
Since the environmental footprint calculator was first introduced, the service has undergone continuous development with the help of better know-how and new data. The data that we have discovered through the LCA is also helping us develop next generation Volvo trucks. It serves as a guideline as we work on alternative fuels and various electrification models.
This is a comprehensive calculator, which gives you an approximation of the actual footprint of your truck. The database behind these calculations is large and complex, based on extensive research and testing of trucks. Lifecycle assessments have been carried out and form the basis for the calculations and they include material production from the extraction of the raw materials to the manufacturing of the parts used both at our suppliers' plants and at our own production plants in Europe.
Maintenance is also included as material recycling, transport between plants, production of fuel and tailpipe emissions. In the scrapping phase, credit is given for avoiding production of new metal for the next product.
The impact has been analyzed in three areas:
It is clear when looking at the figures, that the most important areas that affect the environmental impact are fuel consumption, mileage, engines and fuel.
Usage can of course be impacted by more means than engine choices; for example driver training, wheel alignment, and tire pressure. The Environmental Footprint Calculator is also an indication that it is a worthwhile pursuit to overlook how we manage truck fleets and train drivers.