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Electro-mobility and alternative fuels central to ‘energy union’ agenda

Further decarbonisation of transport through a shift to alternative fuels and electro-mobility forms a major part of the European Commission’s strategy for an ‘energy union’, unveiled last week. With transport being responsible for more than 30% of EU energy consumption and a quarter of emissions, the Commission said legislation on ‘decarbonising the transport sector, including an action plan on alternative fuels’ would be put forward in 2017.

EU unveils distance-based road charging plan

Plans to develop a Europe-wide road-charging scheme have been unveiled by EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bluc. The charging of cars and lorries for road use based on distance driven would be optional, allowing member states to not participate if they did not wish to.

Green light for lorries redesign but only after 2022

Representatives of EU governments have signed off on a deal that will put an end to brick-shaped lorry designs and clear the way for advances in fuel efficiency and safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. The agreement allows lorrymakers to produce new designs but the truck industry secured a ban until 2022 even though the new designs are voluntary, not mandatory.

Modest climate and energy targets won’t cut it

EU governments last week agreed three modest targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase the share of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency by 2030. Environmental groups said the goals would not do enough to cut Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels and put it on track to meet its own 2050 climate pledges.

Reduced-blind-spot lorries to save hundreds of lives – study

Redesigning lorry cabs to reduce blind spots could save hundreds of cyclists’ and pedestrians’ lives every year, according to a new study by a design research team. It found a ‘direct vision’ lorry concept would increase the driver’s field of view in front and to the sides of the lorry by 50% compared to today’s lorries.

Commission vague about lorry CO2 plans

The Commission’s proposed new lorry carbon dioxide strategy lacks decisive action to reduce the sector’s growing emissions in Europe, green transport campaigners have said. Under the plan, lorry CO2 emissions would be measured, certified and reported in the hope that increased transparency will accelerate improvements.

Lorries: 21st-century fleet or dinosaurs on our roads?

Driving Europe’s transport industry in a more sustainable direction is a formidable challenge, not least because it means a fairly fundamental change in the way fairly large industries do their business. It is in the DNA of these industries to resist change forced upon them by politicians. Carmakers oppose CO2 standards that make them fit clean tech to their cars, the aviation and shipping industries oppose doing their share and of course oil companies fight any kind of change that could end our addiction to their products.

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