‘Fit for 55’: Ambitious targets need all technologies and appropriate regulatory conditions

    Berlin, July 13, 2021

    What amounts to a ban on combustion engines is neither innovation-friendly nor embraces all technologies – Consumer choice will be restricted – No social impact assessment by the European Commission – New CO2 targets require massive investment – All Member States must now rapidly build charging infrastructure offering full coverage – ETS for the transport sector is an important step

    VDA President Hildegard Müller commented on the plans presented by the European Commission on Wednesday relating to the ‘Fit for 55’ package as follows:

    "The automotive industry supports the European Commission’s goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050 at the latest. Our industry is therefore making energetic progress and investing more than 150 billion euros in climate-neutral powertrains, electric mobility and digitizing transport in the period up to 2025. Germany is already the European e-car champion.

    “The ‘Fit for 55’ package intended to comprehensively reform the EU’s climate policy is therefore pursuing the right goals, but taking the wrong path at important points. Concerning the ambitious targets for reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles, it ignores the fact that the proposed instruments do not create certain key conditions needed for successful transformation.

    “The fleet-wide emissions target for 2035 of 0 g envisaged by the Commission amounts to a ban on combustion engines – which would also apply to hybrids and vans. That hinders innovation and is the opposite of embracing all technologies. Consumer choice will be restricted unnecessarily. Many suppliers in particular will find it almost impossible to accelerate the transformation as required. The impacts on jobs in this sector will be considerable. The economic and social impacts have not been comprehensively weighed up.

    “On the positive side, it should be emphasized that the Commission is proposing a binding regulation to expand the charging infrastructure. The ideas represent a step in the right direction and are in part a result of our efforts. However, now the requirements must also be implemented rapidly in all the Member States – with full coverage. Therefore, we need not only obligations to build, but also Europe-wide funding programs and the elimination of regulatory obstacles in many Member States. Not least, we need 100 percent green electricity for all electric vehicles. This is essential if we are to gain consumer confidence. Furthermore, the hydrogen refueling infrastructure should also be expanded much faster than is proposed by the Commission.

    “We welcome the proposal for introducing market-based emissions trading for the transport sector and buildings, which is an important step on the path to a unified EU emissions trading system for all sectors. However, the most important area of application – the transport sector – will be lost by defining a fleet-wide target value of 0 g for 2035.

    “In addition, the proposal for a recast Renewable Energy Directive (RED) is not ambitious enough. It is true that the quota for renewable fuels is being raised significantly, but the proposal does not go far enough. According to calculations by the VDA, the mix will need to have 30 percent renewable fuels in 2030 so that the vehicles already on the roads can make a sufficient contribution to achieving the climate targets.”