Sales of battery electric vehicles in Europe are expected to rise from around 126,000 to 200,000 this year, according to forecasts from the car industry. The figures indicate a growing realisation by carmakers that they need to engage with electric vehicle technology to meet emissions standards.
The increase in UK new car CO2 emissions by 0.8% in 2017 reported by the UK industry arises mainly from a shift to larger SUV and dual-purpose vehicles rather than from declining diesel sales that the UK car industry association (SMMT) claims.
Whilst the rest of the economy has leapt forward to embrace digitalisation, transport has remained largely analogue. The internal combustion engine, a workhorse from the 19th century, stills powers virtually all vehicles using oil that chokes our cities and heats the planet.
Reacting to the own-initiative report by MEP Bas Eickhout on the Low Emission Mobility adopted today in plenary, Yoann Le Petit, clean vehicles officer at T&E, said: “The Parliament have shown they are serious about cleaning up Europe’s transport sector. MEPs have confirmed they want to see ambitious 2025 CO2 targets as well as a separate sales target for zero emission vehicles. In the forthcoming debates on the Second Mobility Package, Parliament has signaled it sees decarbonisation as a key pillar of the mobility revolution and complementary to a competitive industry that will secure jobs and investments in Europe."
UK flights must abide by EU environmental rules after Brexit if Britain wants to the retain its current level of access to the European aviation market. That’s according to a report by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) which looked at how to ensure environmental protection in the aviation sector continues after the UK leaves the bloc. It recommends that EU rules on the aviation emissions trading system (ETS) and state aid should continue to apply to the UK. This would maintain a check on aviation emissions and prevent increased UK subsidies for airport infrastructure and airlines which would be distortive and detrimental to the environment.
Europe’s only government that does not tax diesel fuel more favourably than petrol has gone a step further by increasing tax on diesel engine cars while leaving it unaltered for petrol cars. In his annual budget speech, the British chancellor of the exchequer (finance minister) said new diesels that failed to pass the strictest emissions tests would pay more tax each year. T&E said the announcement was more important for its symbolism than its financial impact.
T&E’s German member DUH has won a historic victory over Volkswagen (VW) in the German courts. The judgement grants DUH (German Environmental Assistance) the right to criticise VW’s emissions data and make related statements after the carmaker had tried to silence DUH. The court said the freedom to express an opinion takes precedence over the economic interests of a company.
A long-awaited proposal to decarbonise EU cars and vans was met with disappointment last month – except among European carmakers who could barely conceal their satisfaction at an early Christmas present. The European Commission was roundly criticised for presenting a zero-emissions vehicle target with no penalty for non-compliance and an unambitious set of CO2 reduction targets.
Reacting to FuelsEurope's study on EURO 6 diesel cars performance, Greg Archer, clean vehicles director of Transport & Environment, said: "The oil industry’s crystal ball assumes that emissions from new cars on the road will be as low as during tests – but history suggests this is wishful thinking. The reality is that diesel emissions are so complex to control they will always be higher on the road so the study underestimates the likely future contribution of diesel vehicles. Despite this, the analysis still shows that the toxic air will still be poisoning some urban residents in 2030! Replacing dirty diesels and ultimately all vehicles with engines with zero emission alternatives, or banning them from city centres, is the only way to ensure it will be safe to breath."
Almost two years since the type approval reform was proposed, the European Parliament, member states and the European Commission are entering the final negotiations to agree the post-Dieselgate rules for approving cars. The third meeting is scheduled for 23 November and this briefing (in English and Spanish) summarises the key elements of a robust regulation that need to emerge from the discussions.