The European Parliament formally adopted today the first-ever EU Regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. Manufacturers will have to reduce average carbon emissions by 15% by 2025 and by 30% by 2030, compared to 2019. The Parliament confirmed the targets set forward by the Commission in its legislative proposal, which will be challenging for the industry to achieve. Much will depend on the Commission quickly updating the VECTO simulation tool to account for innovative emission-reduction technologies.
in CLEPA, 18-04-2019
Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA, the association of automotive suppliers, commented on the vote: “Automotive suppliers are contributing actively to meet the objectives of the Paris agreement. CLEPA supports the setting of clear emission targets by the EU, although it will be challenging to achieve them for all actors involved. European trucks are already the most efficient in the world. While transport of goods has increased by over a third since 1995, emissions have barely risen. This shows how much pressure the market already exerts towards more efficient vehicles.”
The regulation on CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles is linked to VECTO, the tool for the simulation and certification of heavy-duty vehicles’ emissions. Only the efficiency gains that can be certified by VECTO are taken into account in the simulation of a vehicle’s emissions. Currently, the scope of VECTO only covers the tractor and a limited number of drivetrain technologies. Only once the tool will have been upgraded to take into account efficiency gains from new technologies — such as hybridisation and or trailer components — will the associated potential to reduce emissions will be unlocked. “For the regulation to efficiently achieve emission reductions, an approach is necessary which looks not only at the efficiency of the vehicle tractors but also the trailers, as well as facilitating the deployment of low carbon synthetic fuel,” explained de Vries, adding: “A comprehensive, swift, and regular upgrade of VECTO will be a key criterion for success and bring the ambitious targets of the regulation closer within reach. The Commission is tasked to deliver.”
The Regulation also includes, until 2025, a “super credit” system as a positive incentive for the deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles, rewarding manufacturers starting from the very first zero- or low-emission vehicle placed on the market. From 2025 onwards, a minimum sales quota of 2% for zero- and low-emission vehicles will replace of the super credit. De Vries commented: “Automotive suppliers support the principle choice for a positive incentive system to pull new technologies into the market.” The Parliament was also instrumental in introducing a differentiation of the definition of low-emission vehicles per vehicle sub-group. This is expected to facilitate the development of low-emission vehicles across the entire fleet, says de Vries: “It is important to push for the development of low-emission vehicles in long-haul transport. Given the high mileage in this segment, the potential for reduction of emissions is substantial.”
Similar to the Regulation for cars and vans, the Commission is required to assess the feasibility of developing a methodology to assess heavy-duty vehicle emissions over the entire life-cycle. De Vries: “Automotive suppliers have always supported the step forward to well-to-wheel or life-cycle analysis, which should help levelling the playing field for different drivetrain technologies and take into account emissions embedded in energy production.”
The Council is also expected to formally adopt the Regulation shortly.