ACEA criticises EU's 2025 CO2 targets

By Dave Leggett | 9 November 2017

ACEA wants more time to meet tighter fleet average CO2 targets planned for the next decade

ACEA wants more time to meet tighter fleet average CO2 targets planned for the next decade

The European car manufacturers' trade association ACEA has criticised the EU Commission for setting a 2025 average car fleet CO2 target which it says gives the industry too little time to meet. However, it said setting a target for 2030 was consistent with the timings already agreed by the EU heads of states with the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework.

ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert sad that setting a target for 2025 – just a few years after the 2021 targets – does not leave enough time to make the necessary technical and design changes to vehicles, in particular to light commercial vehicles given their longer development and production cycles.

The European Commission has proposed that average emissions of the EU fleet of new cars in 2030 will have to be 30% lower than in 2021. For the EU fleet of new vans in 2030, the reduction also amounts to 30%.

For 2025, targets for cars and vans are 15% lower than in 2021.

In order to provide for the transition from the current to the future framework, the proposal also includes the already established EU fleet wide targets for 2020/2021 of 95 g CO2/km for passenger cars and 147 g CO2/km for light commercial vehicles, both of which are based on the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test procedure.

Starting from 2021, the emission targets will be based on the new emissions test procedure, the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which was introduced on 1 September 2017.

As the WLTP test procedure will be phased in over the next years, the newly proposed 2025 and 2030 fleet wide targets are not defined as absolute values (in g CO2/km), but expressed as percentage reductions compared to the average of the specific emission targets for 2021.

While the proposed Regulation applies to all passenger cars and light commercial vehicles newly registered in the EU, manufacturers responsible for less than 1000 new registrations per year are exempt from the CO2 targets.

'Overly challenging'

ACEA said the 30% reduction level for 2030 proposed by the Commission is overly challenging, going beyond the ambition level set out in the Climate and Energy Framework and in its own 2016 impact assessment, which specifies what is needed to deliver on COP21. In line with this, it said, the European auto industry considers a 20% reduction by 2030 for cars to be achievable at a high, but acceptable, cost.

"Clearly, CO2 targets can provide an impetus for innovation in the auto industry, but the current proposal is very aggressive when we consider the low and fragmented market penetration of alternatively-powered vehicles across Europe to date," Jonnaert said. "Indeed, success in meeting a 2030 target will be clearly linked to the market uptake of alternatively-powered vehicles."

Jonnaert also said that Europe needs much more investment in recharging and refuelling infrastructure, "before we can expect consumers throughout the entire EU to embrace such vehicles."

ACEA said it "therefore welcomes the Commission's action plan for boosting investment in a network of charging and refuelling stations across the European Union.  Infrastructure, however, is only one side of the coin. Affordability clearly also is a major barrier for many Europeans, underlining the need for harmonised and coherent consumer incentives.

It said a  radical change in the market for alternatively-powered vehicles will not happen overnight and focusing on a 2030 target is the best way forward. "Instead of setting an interim target in 2025, it should rather be seen as a milestone year to review the progress made in reducing CO2 emissions towards 2030," Jonnaert added.