VDA President Bernhard Mattes speaks at the German Logistics Congress in Berlin
In advance of the forthcoming decision by the European Parliament’s council of environment ministers on the CO2 regulation for heavy commercial vehicles, Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), has called for a decision showing moderation. At the German Logistics Congress in Berlin Mattes said, “The EU must not set excessive targets for the CO2 regulation. Of course it is right for Europe to pursue ambitious climate goals. But at the same time we must not lose sight of what is technologically feasible and economically expedient. Otherwise there will be considerable risks – for the plants and for the employees.”
Unlike the situation with passenger cars, Mattes explained, Brussels was venturing into new territory with CO2 requirements for heavy-duty commercial vehicles. “At present there are no values for comparison, no reliable baseline. Furthermore, the commercial vehicle market is subject to its own conditions, and commercial vehicles have a large number of different bodies, each impacting differently on CO2 emissions. Hardly any trucks go into service exactly as they roll off the production line.” The European Commission is currently calling for CO2 emissions from new heavy commercial vehicles to be brought down by 15 percent by 2025, and by 30 percent by 2030. The European commercial vehicle industry regards reduction targets of 7 to 16 percent as extremely challenging but realistic.
Mattes also stressed the fact that the automotive industry was undergoing a profound process of transformation into a mobility service provider: “Our manufacturers will expand their focus from vehicles only to include offering individual services. The second keyword is decarbonization – by making further improvements to the combustion engine, alternative powertrains such as hydrogen, natural gas and e-fuels, and electrification going as far as fully electric vehicles. This change also has an impact on logistics. In addition, successful transformation demands the right political conditions.”
Mattes added that the IAA Commercial Vehicles had presented valuable solutions in September. “On electric mobility, we can say that electric commercial vehicles are going into series production! This is demonstrated by numerous world premieres of e-vans and e-buses. The mid-sized trucks used in distribution are also being electrified.”
Electric mobility can bring about a marked reduction above all in the pollution in urban areas caused by individual transport. In this field vans in particular are gaining importance. Since 2000, the number of these vehicles has risen by 40 percent, largely due to the increase in e-commerce that now accounts for almost 10 percent of all retail trade. This proportion could even double over the next five years. Vans are perfect for transporting goods in towns and are also pioneers of commercial vehicle electrification.