This briefing explains how the new type approval proposal is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to strengthen the European vehicle and component testing system, and that while the proposal is a good start, it is missing key elements needed to make it truly effective.
There is broad support among EU environment ministers for new CO2 standards for trucks and strengthened CO2 standards for cars. A large number of those attending an informal council of transport and environment ministers in Amsterdam last month said the measures would be required to ensure the necessary transition towards a low and zero emission transport sector in 2050 in order to combat climate change, air pollution and ‘green’ Europe’s economy.
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.
The European Commission today published a proposal to improve the system for national authorities approving cars to be sold in all 28 EU member states. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the Commission’s constructive and timely attempt to bring into line carmakers who, for decades, have actively undermined the approval system circumventing regulation and damaging public health, safety and the climate.
New cars, including the Mercedes A, C and E class, BMW 5 series and Peugeot 308, are now swallowing around 50% more fuel than their lab test results, new on-the-road results compiled by Transport & Environment (T&E) reveal. The gap between official and real-world performance found in many car models has grown so wide that it cannot be explained through known factors including test manipulations. While this does not constitute proof of ‘defeat devices’ being used to fiddle fuel economy tests, similar to that used by Volkswagen, EU governments must extend probes into defeat devices to CO2 tests and petrol cars too.
Eco-driving technology that will save motorists €30 to €50 year today received the backing of MEPs who called for mandatory fuel consumption meters for all new cars, vans and trucks. The European Parliament’s environment committee overwhelmingly voted for the meters to be fitted and permanently visible in all new vehicles from 1 January 2019, leading to fuel efficiency gains of 2-3% per year.
The current system for testing car CO2 emissions and fuel economy, the NEDC, is obsolete. Thankfully, a new test, the WLTP, is scheduled to replace the NEDC in 2017. To do this, the average CO2 emissions target for cars (95 g/km for 2020/1) needs to be revised in a way that maintains “equivalent stringency” between the tests.
In these documents, T&E responds to the public consultations on the EU Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) and Land use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). As transport is currently the largest sector within the ESD, it is vital to have a strong ESD with limited flexibilities to avoid watering down the EU climate targets and to achieve reductions in the transport sector. The way LULUCF is dealt with is also fundamental to avoiding a decrease in the level of ambition in sectors such as transport. For these reasons, T&E provided input to both consultations in close coordination with other environmental NGOs.
This briefing paper explains why setting 2025 CO2 standards for cars and vans offers benefits for drivers in lower fuel costs, job creation, energy security and tackling climate change. It is available in full and summarised versions. The paper highlights how the EU is falling behind in developing advanced efficient powertrains compared to competitors in Asia; and that due to testing flexibilities by 2021 the average vehicle is still likely to emit 150g CO2/km – meaning less than half of the anticipated savings through the regulation will be delivered.
This paper attempts to quantify the challenge for EU member states in reducing transport emissions under the expected 2030 ‘effort sharing decision’ and the extent to which CO2 standards for cars, vans and trucks can help achieve those targets.