A fall of 30% in CO2 output for cars and vans is planned for between 2021 and 2030; the 2021 target is 95g/km across manufacturers' line-ups
Jimi Beckwith
13 November 2017

The European car industry has issued a statement criticising the European Union's proposed 30% cut in CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 2030 from 2021, when a fleet average of 95g/km has already been proposed for car makers. 

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) described the target as "aggressive when we consider the low and fragmented market penetration of alternatively powered vehicles across Europe to date". 

The ACEA was warmer about the timing of the proposals, but suggested that a 20% reduction instead of 30% across the same timeframe would be "achievable at a high but acceptable cost". 

The association's secretary general, Erik Jonnaert, said: "Europe needs much more investment in recharging and refuelling infrastructure, before we can expect consumers throughout the entire EU to embrace such vehicles.” He also emphasised the fact that affordability is a key factor in the development of EVs, which are vital to the proposals.

The EU's proposals bring the 2030 target down to a 66g/km fleet average as the European Commission aims to encourage more widespread adoption and investment in zero-emissions vehicles by car manufacturers. 

EC vice-president for energy Maroš Šefčovič said: “Today's set of proposals is setting the conditions for European manufacturers to lead the global energy transition rather than follow others. It will entice them to manufacture the best, cleanest and most competitive cars, hence regaining consumers' trust.” 

The 2021 proposals were the first part of a two-step process to reduce Europe-wide total CO2 emissions by 40%. At the time, the plans came under fire from Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetschewho added that even a 20% reduction between 2021 and 2030 would be “a steep reduction”. 

The push is being presented by the EU as encouragement to develop more electric vehicles, along with the promise of supported battery production facilities and charging infrastructure. There is, however, the possibility of levies imposed on non-conforming manufacturers, with commissioner for climate action and energy Miguel Arias Cañete saying: "We need the right targets and the right incentives. With these CO2 measures for cars and vans, we are doing just that. Our targets are ambitious, cost-effective and enforceable. With the 2025 intermediary targets, we will kick-start investments. With the 2030 targets, we are giving stability and direction to keep up these investments."

A tipping point at which electric vehicle sales outweigh those of petrol and diesel cars has not yet happened. It’s thought that the latest development could edge the industry closer to that point, because it is likely to spur more urgency in electric vehicle development as well as encourage new investment in batteries. 


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Šefčovič has already expressed concern in Europe’s progress in the area, having launched a summit to further the development and manufacture of batteries last month. 

Reacting to the news, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The automotive industry has delivered huge improvements in CO2 emissions over the past decade and continues to invest heavily to drive future reductions. The targets proposed today, however, are a significant and potentially unrealistic challenge.

“Plug-in electric cars account for less than 2% of the UK market and, while there are 45 models on the market and many more introductions planned for 2018 and beyond, increasing the take-up of such low-emissions vehicles is not solely in the gift of industry. Major investments in infrastructure and consistent government incentives and fiscal measures are essential.

"The internal combustion engine will continue to play a critical role and government must recognise that technologies such as new, low-emissions diesel cars are essential to the achievement of these targets – and the Government’s own climate change ambitions. It must end the confusion surrounding diesel and ensure the competitiveness of the industry so that it can develop the technological solutions and safeguard the many jobs the industry creates.”

A Volkswagen AG spokesman said: "The EU Commission’s draft law contains some ambitious targets as well as expected specifications regarding CO2 reduction. The decisions to make provision for a percentage reduction by 2030 as well as the application of the principle of technological neutrality are positive.

"However, the draft fails to give answers to decisive issues which call for a political contribution. That calls for incentives, a review of existing tax regulations and favourable electricity prices.

"In essence, the commission has once again only presented a regulation for new vehicles and refrained from making any proposals concerning CO2 reduction for the existing fleet of almost 250 million vehicles. The decarbonisation of road fuels, for example, through 'power-to-gas' or via synthetic fuels, would certainly have merited more attention. For example, Audi e-diesel has the potential to make conventional combustion engines operate almost CO2-neutrally.”

PSA boss Carlos Tavares said at a recent mobility event: "We cannot just look at the CO2 emissions of automobiles without stepping back. Stepping back means that the mobility device needs to be zero emissions, but we also need to care about the CO2 emissions of the energy production, energy mix, that we are progressing as fast on these as on the mobility devices. 

We also need to realise that if we select one technology and say that this is the technology that everybody should be using, we need to enlarge the scope of CO2 emissions evaluation to the manufacturing of this technology; that the manufacture of batteries is not going to create more emissions than an ICE car with clean energy behind it. All of this needs vision about how much we need to step back to have a global perspective on global mobility."

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Join the debate


8 November 2017

NOX and nano particles need eliminating too.

Even electric vehicles create nano particles from tyres and brakes.......

8 November 2017

The stricter the regime the more fraudulent activity MR VW Aud Porche.

8 November 2017

Especially if CO2 is measured realistically as it should be. It's my understanding that CO2 will  continue to be measured by the old NEDC test, which will allow the 95g/km target to be (just about) met. Beyond that things will get increasingly difficult, especially if we are to continue driving the overweight oversized monsters that we have today. But perhaps the idea is that manufacturer's just have to sell more EVs, such that their 0% CO2 can be offset against combustion engine cars that will improve very little on what we have today?

8 November 2017

I think so, when the number of full EV's rises, no one will care about the emissions of the sport variants because they will be a drop on the ocean of the total of cars sales, much like today.

 Those sportscars will be Hybrids also I believe, in order for them to be able to drive around in cities or towns that only allow for no emissions cars to enter them.

8 November 2017

Surely this will be alongside legislation to reduce NOx and particulates too?! Also is the testing being updated - the more stringent/less realistic the targets, the greater the temptation for manufacturers to develop more cheat methods.

8 November 2017
We're continually being fed the line that by driving ICE vehicles, our CO2 emissions will ultimately kill the planet and perhaps mankind.

This viewpoint lead to the political promotion of diesel vehicles and millions of consumers spent their hard earned cash, mostly with european owned manufacturers, buying diesel cars that, we now know represented a considerable and ongoing risk to human health.

Ever since dieselgate, people have been reverting to petrol but now the EU have a new plan, they want us all spend our money to buy EVs in order to 'save the planet'.

Call me skeptical but when greenhouse gas emissions from the the use of antiquated technology in the developing world and more potent GHG sources like methane (from livestock) dwarf anything we do in europe, I have to wonder whether we're all being fed a line, in order to sell more cars.

The adverts will look something like this, "The world's at stake, CO2 is the cause, ease your conscience and save your grandchildren now, for the measly sum of €40,000" (Disclaimer: XYZ is a motor manufacturer, part of the largest EU car manufacturing group and the second largest car manufacturer in the world. The scary wording in our blurb will actually have a more beneficial impact on jobs in our EU car manufacturing industry than it will upon global warming....but if we say it with conviction and apply some legislative pressure.....).

The pitch makes it sound like the EU is leading the fight (which legitimises their role) and car manufacturers will have to tow the line and fund investment in EV but ultimately who wins financially?

Like I said, call me skeptical.

8 November 2017

By then we will all be wearing ponchos and sat in something like a Sinclair C5 with 30cc engine, that should manage 60g/km.

8 November 2017
Easily achievable if the normal everydays Golfs are full EVs and the sporty versions are Hybrids with a Full EV mode for short stints around town. That way everyone is pleased, normal citizens will be happy with their cheap kms with the EV and the enthusiasts, such as myself, can keep our exciting hot hatches in Hybrid form and keeping that engaging driving experience, with some actual sound.

8 November 2017

The Euro-Federalists are obsessed with same pointless CO2 targets. I'm more interested in what large markets like China, the US, India and Brazil will be doing in 2030.

The EU market probably won't be as important.

8 November 2017
What about CO2 emissions from the plains? Manchester Airport, every 5min an airplane lands. What about cruise ships etc.?? But well remember to turn that TV off from the stand by...


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