A controversy is growing in Germany about future funding mechanisms for building and maintaining roads. The federal government and the 16 state governments are looking at new financing options involving the private sector, but T&E’s member VCD has criticised the direction in which the discussions are going, saying they take no account of the need to fight climate change and changing transport trends.
Tesla has fired the starting gun in the race to build the ‘second generation’ of electric vehicles by unveiling its Model 3, a small luxury sedan with a range of around 350km and, at $35,000 US selling price, half the price tag of its earlier models. The Model 3 is expected to go into production late in 2017.
Trucks cost society €143 billion a year across the EU through damage to infrastructure and health as well as congestion, climate change and other effects. The impact of heavy-duty vehicles is assessed in a new independent study for T&E which also finds that only 30% of these costs are covered by fuel excise duties, vehicle taxes and infrastructure charges.
The phenomenon of indirect land-use change (ILUC) is an even bigger cause of emissions from regular biofuels than first feared. That’s the dramatic finding of a study for the European Commission that was published last month after much delay.
Newly-built ships covered by the design fuel efficiency standard have much the same efficiency performance as those not covered, according to a new independent study. This is because the current targets are too weak, say T&E.
The very first tests of cars’ ‘real-world’ CO2 emissions have revealed gaps between official and actual emissions of 36-56% – very similar to those of other on-road fuel efficiency databases. Three models were tested by PSA Peugeot Citroën, under a protocol devised with T&E, on public roads near Paris with passengers, luggage loads, use of air conditioning and other real-life driving conditions.
Road charging for lorries has been introduced in Russia, with environmental groups hoping it will bring a shift in freight from road to rail. The measure is intended primarily to raise money to repair roads; any environmental benefits look like being accidental.
Switzerland has voted in favour of building a second road tunnel through the Gotthard alpine mountain. In a referendum in late February, the Swiss electorate voted by 57% to 43% to approve a second road tunnel, despite it appearing to contradict the Swiss constitution that commits the country to shifting goods transport from road to rail. The vote has been widely seen as part of a political swing to the right, which has been accompanied by a weakening of public willingness to support environmental measures.