Post-2020 European CO2 targets clear first hurdle

11 July 2018

Post-2020 European CO2 targets clear first hurdle

11 July 2018

Two European Parliament committees have voted in favour of the proposed post-2020 CO2 targets for cars and vans legislation.

The Transport and Tourism (TRANS) and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committees agreed with the proposals set out in November 2017, clearing them prior to a plenary vote in October this year.

The new rules call for a 30% reduction in light vehicle emissions of by the year 2030 compared to the targets set for 2021. Furthermore, a 15% reduction by the year 2025 has been proposed as an interim target. However, it is acknowledged that to achieve these figures, the development and sale of electric vehicles (EVs) would need to increase rapidly.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has taken note of the outcomes of the European Parliament votes on post-2020 CO2 targets for cars and vans in the TRAN and ITRE Committees and has said it will now make a further assessment of the details.

Generally speaking, Europe’s car manufacturers remain extremely concerned about the feasibility of the proposed CO2 targets and timings, which do not sufficiently consider the impacts on consumers and those working in the automotive sector. With this in mind, ACEA considers a 20% CO2 reduction by 2030 for cars to be achievable at a high, but manageable, cost.

‘Looking ahead, we can only hope that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will be able to speak with a united and realistic voice ahead of the vote of the Environment Committee in September and the Plenary vote in October,’ stated ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert.

The proposals need the agreement of EU governments and the EU Parliament, with affected committees voting on the proposals and amending as necessary before the final plenary vote in October, where it is likely the adoption of the ruling will be passed.

Unrealistic targets

ACEA has been vocal in recent weeks leading up to the committee vote, stating that for the EU targets to be met, a rapid uptake in charging station infrastructure will be required and incentives needed to help manufacturers sell more electric vehicles.

Future CO2 reductions are strongly dependent on sales of alternatively-powered cars, but affordability remains a major barrier for many Europeans in this respect. The latest data released by ACEA shows that 85% of all electrically-chargeable cars are sold in just six Western European countries with some of the highest GDPs.

By contrast, in countries with a GDP of less than €18,000, such as those in Central and Eastern Europe, the market share of electrically-chargeable cars remains close to zero. This is a serious problem, especially considering the European Commission’s proposal to set EU-wide ‘benchmarks’ for sales of full battery electric cars, at the level of 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

A number of car manufacturers are heading for large fines as they are set to fail legally mandated CO2 targets of 95 grams per kilometre by 2021. Speaking at the Detroit auto show in January, Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Daimler, said the company is likely to miss the target, mainly due to the poor uptake in the electric vehicle market as the diesel segment falters. ‘It’s the only way that we’re going to make the numbers,’ he said, adding that while the company will do its best to meet targets, ‘not every parameter is under our control.’

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), added that government mandates for electric car sales were required for carmakers to comply with the rules.