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Climate neutral mobility: Defossilise energy and fuel, don’t ban technology

In the context of media coverage on emerging CO2-reduction targets for cars, says Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA, the association of automotive suppliers

in CLEPA, 17-06-2021


“The steeper the target, without recognition of sustainable renewable fuels, the closer one gets to a de facto ban on the internal combustion engine. Without renewable fuels acknowledged in this law, if you need a new car in 2036, there won’t be a choice. The car will have an electric engine, regardless of whether it fits the need or not, is affordable or not, or if there is green energy and the infrastructure to charge it or not. This is the opposite of technology neutrality, an important principle defended by the European Commission.

Automotive suppliers fully support the Paris goals and have a strong commitment toward achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Electrification is a highly suitable option but does not cater for all needs consumers and society have and raises questions on Europe’s strategic autonomy. The sustainable internal combustion engine—clean, efficient and powered by zero-carbon fuel—has an important role to play in making transport climate neutral, running alongside battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

If electric mobility is the best and most economical solution it will succeed. But where it is not, there would be choice. This approach builds on European competitive strength and an entire strong value chain that creates jobs and added value. The transition to climate neutrality would still be a challenge, but may stay manageable.

For an effective and efficient path to climate neutrality, it is necessary to use all technology options and defossilise energy and fuels. This requires ambitious CO2 targets that take ‘well-to-wheel’ emissions into account via a crediting scheme, combined with ambitious targets in the renewable energy rules, including sub target for hydrogen and sustainable fuels, and a revision of the energy taxation to remove inconsistencies. This way, all efficient technologies could compete in the market and emissions would be reduced from new vehicles and the existing fleet alike.

There are significant opportunities for the automotive supplier industry to remain a key contributor to well-paid employment and to help secure the EU’s role in a global green and digitalised economy. This will require a consistent, predictable and committed approach from policy makers, industry and other stakeholders ensure the necessary framework conditions, reskill the workforce and enable the sector to maintain and accelerate investment levels in innovative mobility technology solutions.”

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