The average car sits unused for more than 90% of the time, carries on average just one and a half people and costs, on average, €6,500 a year to own and run. Each car occupies 150m2 of urban land and still this is not the full bill – congestion costs the EU economy €100 billion annually. The convenience that made the car a 20th century icon has been eroded by its popularity.
Germany is in the grips of what may well be the largest cartel case in its industrial history. According to Der Spiegel, a German weekly, Volkswagen and Daimler have turned themselves in to the German and EU competition authorities. The alleged cartel included themselves BMW, Audi and Porsche, and dates back all the way to the 1990s. The news comes roughly a year after the European Commission fined EU truckmakers a record €2.9 billion for price fixing and collusion on emissions technology.
The UK will end sales of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, the government has said in response to the threat to public health from rising levels of NOx emissions. The pledge follows a similar move in France and is part of the UK government’s clean air plan, which it was required to bring forward after a legal challenge by NGO Client Earth.
The European Commission has hinted that it might set quotas for carmakers to have a percentage of their fleet made up of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Brussels is working on a revision of CO2 limits from cars and vans, and comments from an official confirm that a ZEV quota is under consideration. T&E has welcomed the development.
The recent Belgium TV expose has opened a new debate about how “clean” diesel cars really are in the real world and the effectiveness of both the emissions testing and car approval system.
There are 35 million dirty diesel cars and vans driving on Europe’s roads today – six million more than when the Dieselgate scandal broke in 2015. The growth in the number of poisonous vehicles in the fleet – revealed by new T&E research – will be a stark reminder to MEPs as they enter negotiations with governments this September to reform the flawed system of testing and approving cars for sale in Europe.
A joint plenary letter, on behalf of POLIS, HEAL, EEB, ClientEarth and Transport & Environment, calling for the establishment of an independent EU authority to check vehicles as part of the Type Approval reform.
Following on from its 2016 commitment, the Group PSA has published the measurement results from the test protocol established with Transport & Environment (T&E) and France Nature Environnement (FNE). This protocol has been used to measure consumption in real driving conditions for 58 PSA Group models under the supervision of the Bureau Veritas certification organisation, which has certified the accuracy and integrity of the results.
A new UK government report has cast doubt on the short-term benefits of driverless cars. The Department for Transport study predicts a “decline in network performance” once one in four cars become driverless. It said early models of the vehicles acted more cautiously and the result could be a “potential decrease in effective capacity” on motorways and A roads. The study did, however, note that should driverless vehicles make up between 50% and 75%, they will reduce congestion.