How clean are Europe's cars 2013

This report is the eighth T&E has published on the annual progress Europe’s major car manufacturers have made in reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of new cars. As we did in previous reports, we also assess progress per EU Member State and review how official CO2 figures are translating into the ‘real world’.
 
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As 2012 is also the year in which ‘supercredits’ are awarded for the first time to the cars with the lowest CO2 emissions, we provide an analysis of developments in sales of these cars.
 
This is also the first report to analyse the CO2 emissions of new vans, as 2012 is also the first year there has been a comprehensive database of new van emissions.
 
The report also examines:
  • The extent to which progress measured in official tests is being replicated by fuel efficiency improvements on the road
  • Average new car emissions in different Member States and the effectiveness of different vehicle taxation policies in encouraging the purchase of lower carbon cars.

Main conclusions:

Progress of Europe’s largest 15 carmakers in cutting CO2

  • In 2012, the car industry reduced CO2 emissions by 3.4g/km, to 132.4g/km, an annual rate of progress of 2.5%, slightly down on the previous year (3.3%). This was primarily because a number of countries with below-average CO₂ experienced a fall in sales in 2012, while only Germany and the UK (both above average) showed significant sales growth. Had sales in each country remained at 2011 levels, the rate of improvement would have been in line with previous years.
  • The annual rate of improvement 2007-2012 was 3.5% per year, compared to just 1.2% per year before the regulation was introduced, clearly demonstrating the value and effectiveness of law
  • Fiat continues to produce cars with the lowest average emissions at 118g/km, but Toyota, Peugeot-Citroën and Renault have narrowed the gap as Fiat made relatively little progress in 2012

Progress towards to 2015 target (average 130 g/km)

  • Analysis of the progress of carmakers towards their 2015 targets shows that most are heading for very significant over-compliance as forecast in previous reports. The industry as a whole is now less than 2% away from hitting the 2015 target.
  • Three carmakers had achieved their targets in 2012. A fourth company had earlier achieved its target in 2011. Seven carmakers are projected to meet their 2015 target in 2013.
  • Only four car manufacturers need to improve by more than 5% over the next four years to meet the 2015 goals.

Progress towards 2020 target (average 95 g/km)

  • Overall the required rate of progress to the proposed 2020 targets is slightly greater (4.1%pa) than the rate that has already been achieved over the past five years (3.6%pa).
  • However, these figures do not include the effect of flexibilities (such as supercredits) that effectively provide free grams. Carmakers are therefore even closer to achieving targets than the data suggests.
  • The clear conclusion is that the 2020 target is achievable for makers of all types and sizes of cars with appropriate planning and most are on track.

Electric vehicle sales and analysis of supercredit contribution in 2012

  • Sales of both battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars (emitting less than 50gCO₂/km) increased rapidly in 2012 to around 23,000, from only a few hundred in 2010. However this level of sales only represents less than 0.6% of all new cars sold.
  • In 2012, supercredits were awarded for selling ultra-low carbon cars with each new car sold being counted 3.5 times towards the manufacturer’s average for that year. This accountancy trick effectively exaggerates the real performance of carmakers.
  • If the current rapid upward trajectory in sales continues, T&E anticipates substantially more supercredit weakening in 2013, as the multiplier remains at 3.5.
  • The 2012 data illustrates the risk of unlimited supercredits and high multipliers. Deviation from the agreement reached between the European Institutions on capped supercredits in 2020 could significantly weaken the 95g/km 2020 target.

Analysis of contribution of test cycle flexibilities

  • A previous T&E report highlighted the growing gap between the CO2 emissions measured in official test results and those achieved by most drivers on the road.
  • This report used data from the largest database of real-world driving emissions to measure how much actual improvement has been achieved on the road and not just in tests.
  • Only five companies have achieved real-world emissions reductions of more than 10% (Toyota, Fiat, Ford, PSA and Volkswagen)
  • Two companies have achieved barely more than 5% real-world improvement (Daimler and General Motors)
  • Whilst BMW achieved the greatest percentage reduction in emissions measured in tests (22%) the ‘real’ improvement on the road is less than half this.

Member State progress

  • In 2012, the top three performing countries – Greece, Denmark and the Netherlands – all achieved annual emissions reduction of new cars of more than 5%. In contrast Belgium and Hungary achieved the dubious distinction of increasing average CO₂ emissions.
  • All countries with low average emissions (including Portugal and France) have purchase taxes or vehicle circulation taxes that are steeply differentiated by CO2.
  • Germany is by far the worst performer of the ‘old’ EU15. Germany and the small number of other countries still calling for a weaker CO2 limit in 2020 are notable in that they have amongst the highest average emissions, well above the EU average: Czech Republic (18th of 27 countries), Slovakia (19th), Germany (20th) and Hungary (24th).
  • All these countries have made relatively little progress, largely owing to a lack of incentives for fuel efficiency in their tax systems.  

Vans in 2012

  • Overall, the average CO₂ of vans sold in 2012 was 180g/km, just 3% below the 2017 target. Fiat and Iveco have achieved their targets 5 years early and all others are within 10% – confirming T&E’s previous assertion that the target is so unambitious as to be pointless.
  • The 2020 target is only moderately tougher. Iveco only requires a 9% improvement in the next 8 years. All other companies must improve at between 2.3 - 3.5% pa, much slower than what is required for cars.