EU sets new standards for CO2 in 2030


Today, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal setting new CO2 emission standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (vans) in the European Union for the period after 2020.  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, so as to ensure that emission reductions occur as early as possible.

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.

The proposed framework combines CO2 targets for 2025 and 2030 with a technology-neutral incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles in order to give the market a clear signal for investment in clean vehicles.

The incentive covers both zero-emission vehicles such as battery electric or fuel cell vehicles and low-emission vehicles having tailpipe emissions of less than 50 g CO2 per km – these are mainly plug-in hybrid vehicles equipped with both a conventional and an electric engine.

Manufacturers achieving a share of zero- and low-emission vehicles, which is higher than the proposed benchmark level of 15% in 2025 and 30% in 2030, will be rewarded in the form of a less strict CO2 target. For determining that share, account is taken of the emission performance of the vehicles concerned. As a consequence, a zero-emission vehicle is counted more than a low-emission vehicle.

The proposed framework aims to support a gradual transition from vehicles powered by conventional engines to electric vehicles in order to allow for sufficient time for re-training and up-skilling of those employed in the automotive sector, so that no worker or region is left behind.

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About the author

Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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