The European Commission today proposed new legislation that would require public transport operators to allocate a minimum of 25% of their annual procurement (purchasing or leasing) of heavy-duty vehicles (weight greater than 3.5 metric tons) to “enhanced environmentally friendly vehicles” (EEVs).
The Commission also formally proposed the new Euro 5 emissions standards, released earlier as a draft for comment, and due to come into effect no sooner than 2008. (Earlier post.)
EEV is a voluntary standard with the most stringent emissions levels established by the European Community. EEV emissions are lower than the Euro 5 truck and bus emissions scheduled for introduction in 2008, and are defined in the European Performance Standard. EEVs could be certain clean diesel, CNG, LPG or hydrogen-fueled combustion engines; hybrids; electric vehicles; or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Public operators include state, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law, public undertakings and operators contracted by public bodies to supply transport services. Heavy-duty vehicles affected by this proposal include buses and most utility vehicles, such as refuse collection trucks.
The growing problems caused by pollution in towns and cities and the steady increase in the price of oil make it necessary to help the motor industry to produce less-polluting vehicles.—Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot, the Transport Commissioner
The vehicle procurement obligations are initially limited to these categories for which the market shares accounted for by public bodies are significant (approximately 6% in the case of trucks and around 33% in the case of buses).
The increased demand for these less-polluting vehicles will make it possible to support their development by manufacturers: the aim is to establish a viable market by creating sufficient demand to generate economies of scale.
For buses, public procurement in the EU represents about one third of the whole market; 25% of that would represent 8.25%. For other heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), public procurement represents about 6% of the total market.
The number of vehicle procurements covered by this Directive is about 52,000 in total, split into 17,000 buses, and 35,000 other HDVs (e.g. garbage vans). A quota of 25% clean vehicles from the total corresponds to 13,000 vehicles per year.
The Commission will examine whether, in a second stage, the quota obligation should be extended to include other vehicle categories. One of the effects of the Directive will be to encourage the development of vehicles adapted to high blends of biofuels (earlier post on the Biomass Action Plan).
EU governments and the European Parliament still must approve the measure. The Commission hopes the initiative will be passed next year.
Euro 5. The Euro 5 proposal, introduced separately, is similar to the draft posted earlier this year. Under the proposal, particulate emissions from diesel cars would be slashed by 80% and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 20%. The tougher standards proposed would lead to the introduction of particulate filters for diesel cars. For gasoline cars, the Commission proposes to cut NOx emissions and hydrocarbons by 25%.
|Diesel Passenger Car Standards||Gasoline Passenger Car Standards|
|Comparison of Euro Emissions Standards|
The Euro 5 proposal would also remove an exemption that enabled heavy passenger vehicles (such as SUVs) with a maximum mass of over 2,500kg to be approved using the less rigorous emission standards of light commercial vehicles, rather than passenger vehicles.