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Euro Parliament Environment Committee approves 147 g CO2/km target for light commercial vehicles by 2020; caps van speed

Members of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee approved a draft law setting out rules for achieving a 147 g CO2/km (235 g/mile) target for new light commercial vehicles by 2020, down from 203 g/km (325 g/mile) today—i.e., a 27.6% reduction. The vote was 53 to 4 with 1 abstention.

The committee also proposed indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in a range of 105 to 120 g/km (168 to 192 g/mile) from 2025. The committee also voted to limit electronically the top speed of vans to 120 km/h (75 mph).

In April, the committee had approved a draft law setting out a new CO2 target for cars of 95 g CO2/km (153 g/mile) by 2020, down from 130 g CO2/km (209 g/mile) in 2015—a reduction of 27% from the 2015 target. The draft also sets indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in the range of 68-78 g/km (109-126 g/mile) from 2025. (Earlier post.)

To enable automakers to reach the 147g target, innovation should be encouraged by giving “super-credit” weightings to each maker’s cleaner vehicles, the committee said. Environmental performance testing methods should also be made more realistic.

The emission limits are the average maximum allowed for van makers registered in the EU. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) said the scheme should apply to manufacturers producing more than 1,000 vehicles a year.

Manufacturers would have to produce, in addition to older, heavier or polluting models, a sufficient number of cleaner—or more fuel efficient—models to achieve a balance of 147g in 2020, or face penalties.

Super credits assign a favorable weighting to vans that emit less than 50 g/km of CO2. The committee proposes that each of these extra clean vehicles would count as 3.5 vans in 2014, falling to 1.3 from 2018 to 2023. However, the number of vehicles taken into account when applying these multipliers must not exceed 1% per manufacturer, MEPs say.

The committee cited recent studies showing that manufacturers have exploited weaknesses in today’s procedure for testing vehicles’ environmental performance, with the result that official consumption and emission figures are far from those achieved in everyday driving conditions.

MEPs therefore say that the new UN-defined World Light Duty Test Procedure (WLTP) should replace today’s procedure in EU law “as a matter of urgency”, and if possible by 2017, on the grounds that the WLTP better reflects the real conditions in which vehicles are used.

The approved amendment requiring manufacturers to equip new vans with devices restricting their maximum speed to 120 km/h would come into effect on 1 January 2014.


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