European Parliament votes to introduce CO2 limits in EU for new vans and light commercial goods vehicles; initial target of 175 g/km
The European Parliament has voted to introduce CO2 limits in the EU for new vans and other light commercial goods vehicles. The upper weight limit for this category is 3.5 tonnes when loaded. The rules, agreed with Member States, include incentives to make highly-efficient vehicles as well as penalties for manufacturers that miss the targets.
Under the terms of an agreed phase-in, the average emissions of 70% of a manufacturer’s fleet must meet an initial target of 175 g CO2 limit in 2014; 75% in 2015; 80% in 2016; and the average of all its vehicles by 2017. The legislation also sets a limit of 147g CO2/km to be achieved by 2020. Manufacturers registering fewer than 22,000 new vehicles in a year may apply for an exemption from the rules. The targets reflect a less ambitious compromise than many MEPs had wanted, but in line with an earlier agreement reached with Council.
Parliament approved the legislation with 534 votes in favour, 117 against and 15 abstentions. If endorsed by the Council of Ministers, it will complement existing CO2 limits for passenger cars.
Vans that emit less than 50g CO2/km will earn carmakers supercredits for a limited time, by counting as 3.5 vehicles towards the average in 2014-2015, 2.5 in 2016 and 1.5 in 2017, the last year of the scheme. On the other hand, each new van over the agreed limits will be subject to a range of penalties rising to €95 (US$129) per gram from 2019.
The legislation also allows consideration of CO2 savings achieved through the use of innovative technologies. The total contribution of those technologies to reducing the specific emissions target of a manufacturer may be up to 7 g CO2/km. The Commission will adopt detailed provisions for a procedure to approve such innovative technologies by 31 December 2012.
The supplier or manufacturer must be accountable for the CO2 savings achieved through the use of the innovative technologies; the innovative technologies must make a verified contribution to CO2 reduction; and the innovative technologies must not be covered by the standard test cycle CO2 measurement or by mandatory provisions due to complementary additional measures.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) issued a statement saying that the new CO2 legislation for light commercial vehicles sets extremely challenging targets in particular for the long term.
Environmental NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) called the legislation weak, saying that the original European Commission proposal of 135g CO2/km in 2020 was weakened under enormous pressure from vehicle manufacturers, who said that their industry was in economic crisis and that improving van fuel efficiency at the rate needed would be prohibitively expensive.
T&E pointed to a June 2010 report by TNO/CE Delft finding that by returning to the engine power levels of 1997 (“optimal engine sizing”), fuel costs and CO2 emissions could be cut by up to 16%, vehicle purchase costs by up to 10%, and total cost of ownership by up to 12%.