The European Commission has formally proposed the EU’s first ever CO2 emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles.
Vice-President responsible for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič said: "Mobility is crossing a new technological frontier. With this final set of proposals under the Energy Union, we help our industry stay ahead of the curve. By producing key technological solutions at scale, including sustainable batteries, and deploying key infrastructure, we will also get closer to a triple zero: emissions, congestion and accidents."
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said: "All sectors must contribute to meet our climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. That's why, for the first time ever, we are proposing EU standards to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from new heavy-duty vehicles. These standards represent an opportunity for European industry to consolidate its current leadership position on innovative technologies."
Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc said: "Over the past year, this Commission has put forward initiatives addressing the challenges of today and paving the way for the mobility of tomorrow. Today's measures constitute a final and important push so that Europeans can benefit from safe, clean and smart transport. I am inviting the Member States and the Parliament to live up to our level of ambition."
Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: "90% of road accidents are due to human error. The new mandatory safety features we propose today will reduce the number of accidents and pave the way for a driverless future of connected and automated driving."
In 2025, average CO2 emissions from new trucks will have to be 15% lower than in 2019. For 2030, an indicative reduction target of at least 30% compared to 2019 is proposed, subject to the early review to take place in 2022.
These targets are consistent with the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement and will allow transport companies – mostly SMEs – to make significant savings thanks to lower fuel consumption (€25,000 over five years) said the EC.
In the first phase, targets are set for the largest lorries, which account for 65% to 70% of all CO2 emissions of the sector. In 2022, targets will also be set for smaller lorries, buses, coaches and trailers.
Complementary to the CO2 targets, the legislative proposal includes an incentive system for zero- and low- emission vehicles. This system of super credits will accelerate the introduction into the market of such vehicles, including zero-emission buses, by rewarding those manufacturers investing more in innovative technologies.
The proposal also includes provisions to ensure that the targets are effectively applied and enforced. These include mandatory fuel consumption meters to monitor real-world fuel consumption data, conformity checks to ensure that the vehicles produced are as clean as the ones tested and financial penalties in case of non-compliance.
On May 17, 2018, The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), representing the seven major EU producers of heavy-duty vehicles (DAF Trucks, Daimler Trucks, Iveco, MAN Truck & Bus, Scania, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, and Volvo Group), taking note of the European Commission’s proposal for CO2 emission standards for EU trucks, just published, said "This is one important part of a broader strategy to further decarbonise road transport – an objective to which the auto industry is fully committed".
ACEA said it welcomes the Commission’s two-step approach, with targets set for 2025 and 2030. The industry also supports the proposal to validate the indicative 2030 target at a later point, as this would allow the latest fuel efficiency technologies available at that point in time to be taken into account.
Nevertheless, ACEA believes that the reduction levels proposed by the Commission for 2025 and 2030 – 15% and 30% respectively – are far too aggressive, and have not been selected with the specific nature of the truck market in mind. Given that the product development of heavy-duty vehicles to be sold in 2025 is already underway right now, the 2025 ambition level is too stringent given the short lead-time for this first-ever CO2 target.
“It would seem as though the Commission has simply taken the exact CO2 reduction levels it already proposed for cars and vans, and applied them directly to heavy-duty vehicles, without fully recognising the fundamental differences between these vehicle segments,” said ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert. Moreover, the fact that the 15% reduction by 2025 is followed by another 15% by 2030 goes against a realistic technology ramp-up, as the most advanced fuel-saving technologies will take time to be developed.
The European truck industry also welcomes the fact that 2019 has been set as the baseline year for these targets, as from that point on all EU truck makers will use the same calculation tool (VECTO) to declare and report the CO2 emissions from a wide range of trucks. This will allow for real data comparability across vehicles and manufacturers, providing a robust baseline for future standards.
ACEA accepts the introduction of CO2 standards for trucks, but calls for them to be carefully and properly designed, bearing in mind the importance and complexity of the market.
Depending on their mission, most trucks are custom-built on an individual basis to meet specific requirements. They can vary from the number of axles to the size of the engine, fuel tank or cab, to the height of the chassis. When taking the complete vehicle into account – a rigid body or a tractor plus a trailer – the truck market becomes even more complex.
Trucks move more than 14 billion tonnes of goods per year. They deliver more than 70% of all land-based freight in Europe, or some 90% of the total value of goods.