The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) made the following statement on today’s vote in the Environment Committee of the European Parliament on the CO2 regulation for light commercial vehicles:
The long-term target proposed by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, of 105 to 120 g/km CO2 for light commercial vehicles in the year 2025, ignores physical and technical laws. This indicative target range is politically motivated and has no sound basis whatsoever, as there has been no cost-benefit analysis. Furthermore, at present it is still completely unknown when alternative drive trains will become more established in light commercial vehicles – and without such drive trains this value cannot be achieved. Therefore, it will be several years before a serious long-term target can be defined.
Following the vote on CO2 limits for passenger cars, the Environment Committee is again turning up the regulatory pressure with this vote. Many companies in the commercial vehicle and transport business are also struggling with falling sales owing to the poor state of the economy in Europe. No one knows how long the tangible effects of the debt crisis will last. Those who create additional burdens for the companies in such situations have no idea how industrial policy works. Furthermore, an ecological steering effect exists in this vehicle group even without regulation, because fuel economy has always been a decisive argument in purchasing commercial vehicles. For this reason, reducing consumption has always been a top priority for manufacturers of light commercial vehicles.
Even the 147 g/km CO2 target set for 2020 is ambitious. Therefore it is right and proper that the Environment Committee has come out in favour of keeping this value. For the year 2017 the current regulation stipulates 175 g/km CO2. That means saving 28 g/km CO2 in only three years.
Electric mobility offers huge potential, especially in light commercial vehicles. But because the market for vans is driven primarily by cost considerations, it is crucial to foster these currently more expensive innovative drive train concepts. The super credits, i.e. extra points for especially economical vehicles, are a good way of doing this. However, the recommendation of the Environment Committee for factors of 1.5 (in 2017) and 1.3 (for 2018 to 2023) is far too cautious. In this form it will not provide an incentive for the companies to bring alternative drive trains onto the market at an early stage.
In addition, the Environment Committee’s call for the mandatory installation of speed limiters in vans is incomprehensible. The proportion of accidents in which these vehicles are involved is much lower than the average and the climate effects of speed limits for vans are also marginal. Irrespective of this, the European CO2 regulation is the wrong place for such provisions. Decisions on speed control are a matter for the Member States.