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‘Well to wheel’ assessment needed for road vehicles

A study ordered by the Commission has recommended the EU’s approach to regulating car and van emissions should be changed, as it is not helping to keep the environmental impact of road vehicles to a minimum.

The study, by the Dutch consultancy CE Delft, was intended to look at ways of boosting the market for electric vehicles, but it could have more far-reaching consequences. Current regulations are based on tailpipe emissions, whereas the study’s authors say each form of propulsion should be assessed on its ‘well to wheel’ impact. Only then would the full environmental costs and benefits of electric cars be reflected in legislation.

The study says the EU’s current policy of viewing electric cars as having zero emissions overly favours that technology, and creates unfair competition with other types of non-fossil-fuel vehicles. The authors also call for a better methodology to calculate the amount of electricity used by electric cars and how much of it comes from renewable sources.