EU environment ministers agree 35 percent CO2 reduction by 2030 for passenger cars. Minus 30 percent is envisaged for vans.
Yesterday in Luxembourg the EU’s council of environment ministers voted on the CO2 regulation for passenger cars and vans in the post-2021 period.
According to the decision, car manufacturers will have to reduce the CO2 output from their new vehicle fleet in the EU by 35 percent by 2030. A binding interim target of a 15 percent reduction will apply for 2025. CO2 emissions from vans are to be brought down by 30 percent by 2030. All the reduction targets will be measured against values from 2021.
Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) commented:
Yesterday’s vote missed an opportunity to make the post-2021 CO2 regulation economically and technically realistic. It is more than regrettable that the majority of Member States did not have the energy to bring protecting the climate and securing jobs into balance. Insufficient consideration is given to factors such as the market situation and customer acceptance of electric mobility, falling sales of CO2-saving diesel models, and the fact that many technologies for saving fuel have already been exhausted.
The environment ministers’ acceptance of the compromise target level proposed by the Austrian Presidency means they rejected the unrealistic reduction of 40 percent which the European Parliament had voted for. But the Council and the Parliament will still enter the approaching triangular negotiations with excessive demands. It is therefore already clear that the EU will pass CO2 targets that are too high for the automotive industry. Nowhere else in the world is aiming for comparable targets. In international competition this will lead to greater burdens on the European automotive industry than those on its competitors. The result will be legal requirements that do not harmonize customer acceptance, technical feasibility and economic possibility. This will put jobs at risk and weaken European industry. Furthermore, such requirements ultimately do not help the climate targets if they are impossible to satisfy.
The German vehicle makers and suppliers are playing an active role in shaping this change process. German firms already have over 30 models with alternative powertrains on the market. By 2020 there will be around 100.
The regulation must provide greater incentives for electric mobility. The EU Member States must assume more responsibility for establishing the charging infrastructure and support this technology with active, demand-oriented policies. At present three quarters of all charging pillars for electric vehicles are located in only four countries: the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
In addition, policies should pursue a strategy that increases the efficiency of all powertrains and fuels. Biofuels and renewable fuels (“e-fuels”), for example, offer considerable potential for reducing CO2. Therefore it should be possible to voluntarily credit e-fuels against the fleet limit value. Furthermore, a tailored incentive system for vans is especially important given their variety of applications and smaller numbers of vehicles produced.
Unlike the resolution of the European Parliament, the Council has sent out positive signals such as increased credits for plug-in hybrids and the differentiation between passenger cars and vans. Unfortunately the 30 percent target for vans also ignores the technical reality in this segment. The development and product cycles take up to 10 years, i.e. far longer than those for passenger cars. Moreover, low fuel consumption has always been a key consideration for purchasing commercial vehicles and the market is therefore naturally tuned to CO2 efficiency.