European Commission presents Communication on decarbonizing transport
Today the European Commission presented a “European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility.” It sets out the key points for decarbonizing the transport sector after 2020 and makes some proposals for specific measures.
Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), commented: “It is right that in the future the Commission should not give its support solely to the limit value regulation for new vehicles, but also wishes to pursue a broader and thus more efficient approach. The only way to tangibly reduce CO2 emissions in transport will be by combining many different components such as clean and efficient vehicles, decarbonization using biofuels or renewable fuels, infrastructure measures, exploiting the efficiency potential in digitization, and other measures.”
Wissmann welcomed the fact that the Communication upheld the principle of technology neutrality. “Policies should not rule out any particular powertrain per se, and instead should create a regulatory framework that includes all the options for improving efficiency.” He added that electrification on its own would not be sufficient for reaching the EU’s climate protection targets for transport. Progress was needed across board in all technologies, including plug-in hybrids along with gasoline and diesel systems. “We want to see a clear vote of confidence in this mix of drivetrains and fuels for the future. A broad range of suitable measures to promote research should also be implemented.”
According to Wissmann the new regulation should be geared to the year 2030. “All the EU’s targets for climate and energy policy refer to 2030. In order to ensure coherent legislation in this field, this schedule should also apply to the transport sector,” he stated. “The manufacturers need planning security over a longer period of time. Those who introduce new requirements every few years will be hampering effective strategies in the longer term.”
On reducing emissions from heavy commercial vehicles, the VDA president spoke in favor of a market-based instrument because this had decisive advantages over rigid limit values. The most economical trucks were proving successful due to greater transparency of supply, and the tough competition among manufacturers. “In freight transport fuel efficiency – and thus cost savings – have always been the key purchasing arguments. The commercial vehicle manufacturers have therefore reduced their vehicles’ consumption by around 60 percent per tonne-kilometer since the 1970s – without any legal compulsion to do so,” Wissmann said. A comprehensive, integrated approach can bring down the CO2 emissions from new trucks, compared with 2005 values, by another 20 percent by 2020.”
Wissmann also stressed: “So many different variants exist among heavy trucks that there is no common standard CO2 value. They range from construction site tipper trucks and delivery vehicles all the way to long-distance trucks and buses. And a regulation applicable only to the engine or certain individual components is too limited because consumption by commercial vehicles is affected by a great many factors such as size, weight, area of deployment, mileage and load.”