The European Commission has today adopted the so-called second “Mobility Package”. Under the title “Europe on the Move – An agenda for a socially fair transition towards clean, competitive and connected mobility”, the package comprises nine legislative initiatives, including the CO2 Regulation for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles for the time after 2021.
According to this the passenger car manufacturers are to reduce the
CO2 output of their new vehicle fleet in the EU by 30 per cent up to the year 2030. Up to the year 2025 a binding intermediate goal with a specified reduction of 15 per cent is to apply. For light commercial vehicles the CO2 output is also to be reduced by 15 per cent (2025) and then by 30 per cent (2030).
The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) comments on this as follows:
“The draft presented confronts the automotive industry with extreme challenges. Whether these proposed CO2 target levels can be achieved is more than questionable from today’s perspective and depends critically on how quickly customers accept alternative drive systems in the coming years and how quickly the public infrastructure is established. Factors such as the uncertainty in connection with electromobility, falling sales of CO2-saving diesel models and the fact that many fuel-saving technologies have already reached their peak need to be taken into account. It is right that Europe is pursuing ambitious climate goals, but our continent should not be too far removed from other regions of the world such as the USA or Asia. The European automotive industry is exposed to greater burdens than its competitors in international competition. The binding intermediate goal for 2025 overshoots the requirements.
The specification for light commercial vehicles ignores the technical reality. After all, with up to ten years the development and product cycles are distinctly longer than those for passenger cars. Furthermore, low fuel consumption has always been a crucial purchase argument for commercial vehicles, so that the market is already geared to CO2 efficiency.
The European policy-makers need to flank the strong competitive position of the automotive industry in future too. For this the industry depends on regulation that is open to technology. That is why we welcome the fact that the Commission has abstained from the concept of a fixed sales quota for electric vehicles and instead proposes a flexible solution with offsetting options for low-emission vehicles.
The correct strategy is to expect and encourage. Stronger impulses for electromobility are necessary here. The Commission largely disregards reduction potentials outside vehicle technology, such as the way people drive or the CO2 content of the energy sources used (fuels, electricity).
A comprehensive political strategy ought to increase efficiency across all drive systems and fuels. There is substantial potential for reducing CO2 in biofuels and renewable fuels (known as e-fuels). Alongside alternative drive systems, e-fuels independent of mineral oil could be a further option for climate-neutral mobility in the future. Improving the existing fleet by 1g – for instance via fuel with a lower CO2 output – is just as effective as a 20g improvement in the new vehicle fleet.
The progress achieved so far in saving CO2 emissions is substantially due to the diesel sector, which by comparison with a comparable petrol/gasoline model has a CO2 advantage of up to 15 per cent. That is why in terms of climate policy it would be a mistake to bid diesel farewell.
In order to achieve such major progress in CO2 reduction similar to that already made, it is no longer enough to optimise the internal combustion engine. The ramping up of the market for electric vehicles depends on many factors that the automotive industry cannot influence, or can only influence to a limited extent – battery costs, charging infrastructure, fuel prices, public-sector procurement. Electromobility is a joint task in which policy-makers must assume responsibility for building up the charging infrastructure and the EU Member States should support this technology with an active, demand-oriented policy. Today’s proposal takes a first step in the right direction. It needs to be supported by greater commitment in public procurement policy as well.”