Ahead of Wednesday’s European Parliament vote on future CO2 targets for cars and vans, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (Acea ) has drawn decision makers’ attention to the importance of this plenary vote – not only for the environment, but also for the future of the EU auto industry.

ACEA has previously warned of the dangers in setting too tight a target for average CO2 emission improvements over the next decade.

“Our industry is committed to making the shift to zero-emission vehicles. But this transition should be assured in a gradual, rather than an abrupt way,” explained ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.

“The more aggressive the CO2 reduction targets are, the more disruptive the socio-economic impacts will be, especially in member states and regions where the sector’s share of industrial output is high,” said Jonnaert. In four out of 10 EU regions, automotive accounts for more than 10% of manufacturing employment

While all manufacturers are investing heavily in alternatively-powered vehicles, their market uptake remains rather weak and fragmented across the EU for the time being. Indeed, electrically-chargeable vehicles represented just 1.5% of EU car sales last year.

Jonnaert added: “Boosting electric car sales will also require more support from national governments to ensure an EU-wide roll-out of recharging infrastructure, as well as incentives to encourage customers to switch to such vehicles.”

“The stakes of Wednesday’s vote are extremely high for the entire sector, which accounts for over 6% of the EU employed population and 27% of all private EU investment in research and development,” cautioned Jonnaert.

“We are calling on MEPs to be aware of the possible unintended implications of their vote. Reducing CO2 emissions from the transport sector is of course crucial – as is affordable mobility for consumers and the long-term viability of the European automotive sector.”

See also: ACEA sounds alarm on EU CO2 targets after parliament vote