Average CO2 emissions from new cars sold in Europe were 118.5 grams of CO2 per kilometre in 2017, or up 0.4% compared to 2016, according to data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The European vehicle makers' association, ACEA, has called for more investment in charging infrastructure to boost EVs and help reduce overall CO2 emissions.
"It is no coincidence that 2017 marked the first increase in CO2 from cars since records began in 2010, as it was also the first year that petrol overtook diesel in terms of new car sales," said Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA).
Jonnaert added: "Given that sales of diesel cars continued their decline in 2018, all indications unfortunately point to CO2 emissions increasing for a second year running in 2018."
Recent ACEA data shows that last year only 2% of all new cars registered were electrically-chargeable. By contrast, petrol further expanded its market share by almost 6.5 percentage points in 2018, accounting for 56.7% of all cars sold in the EU.
Meeting the 2021 CO2 targets – not to mention the extremely stringent 2025 and 2030 targets that were agreed recently – will require a much stronger uptake of alternatively-powered cars.
"All auto manufacturers continue to invest strongly in their portfolios of alternatively-powered cars, most notably electric ones," Jonnaert said. "However, the reality is that consumers are not rushing to buy these vehicles in large numbers."
There are several major barriers holding back consumers, such as the affordability of these cars and the lack of suitable charging and refuelling infrastructure across the EU.
Today, there are some 150,000 public charging points for electric cars available in the EU. At least 2.8 million will be needed by 2030, according to conservative estimates by the European Commission. That translates to almost a 20-fold increase within the next 12 years.
Jonnaert: "We urge national governments and EU policy makers to make the much-needed infrastructure investments so that sales of electrically-chargeable cars can really take off in Europe."