The European Parliament at the plenary session in Strasbourg today voted to start exposing Europe’s incumbent passenger rail companies to more competition but falls short of ensuring Europeans will get better, cheaper train trips in the near future. Sustainable transport group, Transport & Environment (T&E), thinks today’s vote is a small step in making rail more efficient and customer-focused so as to attract more people onto trains.
The Paris Agreement’s objectives cannot be achieved without action to address rapidly growing emissions from international aviation and shipping, however these emissions sit outside of national targets. At the conclusion of COP21, the two UN agencies which regulate these sectors (ICAO for aviation and IMO for shipping) promised big action in 2016. Did they deliver? The event will consider what progress, if any, was made this year, what impact it may have on these sectors and what needs to happen now.
Electro-mobility offers an unequalled solution to make Europe’s transport more efficient and less polluting. But the market for electric vehicles (EVs - both battery and plug-in hybrids) has had several false dawns. Finally in 2015, sales of electric cars reached the important milestone of a 1% market share. Overall electric car sales doubled in 2015 to 145,000. The most recent data in 2016 suggests further growth in 2016. Sales year to date suggest significantly more than 200,000 plug-in vehicles will be sold in Europe this year taking the total number of EVs on the road to more than 500,000.
Last week I was in Hannover for the IAA2016, the twice-yearly truck fair. This is the place where European truckmakers exhibit their new models and score a few political points in front of the assembled press.Quite a few of my truck industry colleagues approached me and urged that I check the latest edition of Lastauto Omnibus, a truck testing magazine. Judging from their big smiles, there was an article in there that they all liked a lot.
National regulators turning a blind eye to vehicle test cheating is the main culprit for the 29 million ‘dirty’ diesel cars on European roads today. On the occasion of the Dieselgate anniversary T&E launched a damning report showing that those 29 million cars and vans exceed by at least three times Europe’s legal NOx limits, known as Euro 5 and Euro 6. The vehicles, which grossly pollute the environment and cause thousands of premature deaths every year, were approved for sale by national type approval authorities, mainly in Germany, France and the UK.