Making EVs fit for the future

April 22, 2024

A T&E briefing sets out how to design an environmental score for EVs.

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As the European automotive industry shifts towards selling only zero emission cars in Europe by 2035, tailpipe emissions are gradually shifting to zero. This leads to a growing importance of emissions linked to material use (‘embedded emissions’), as well as the vehicle’s energy efficiency. Both these parameters are heavily influenced by vehicle size, aerodynamic performance (shape), weight and amount of material used.

The 2023 car CO2 law requires the European Commission to consider setting energy efficiency thresholds for electric vehicles (EVs) to address the current regulatory gap regarding the overall environmental performance of EVs. Although improving the energy efficiency of EVs is important, an approach solely focused on this unique parameter, as suggested by the car CO2 law, would not be sufficient to effectively assess and improve the overall environmental performance of EVs. Focus on just efficiency would only deliver small, incremental improvements since technological progress and market competition are already driving efficiency upgrades.

To address this gap, the EU needs to come forward with clear rules for rating the environmental performance of EVs and create a European harmonised framework for the overall reduction of the carbon and energy footprint of vehicles. Member States, companies and consumers could then use this framework to compare, rate, and adapt support for EV models while consumers would benefit from more accurate information about the environmental footprint of electric cars.

In this briefing, T&E, IMT (IDDRI) and BEUC propose the introduction of a harmonised EU environmental methodology—named the “environmental-score.” The proposed metric combines both the energy efficiency and the carbon footprint of EV’s main components to ensure a comprehensive evaluation.

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