The Platform for Electro-mobility is a growing collaborative, multi-stakeholder initiative to accelerate the transition towards sustainable transport by means of electro-mobility. In the framework of the discussions on the “Clean energy for all Europeans” package, the 25 members believe that electro-mobility is one of the main levers to achieve the European Union’s goals to decarbonise the economy, increase energy security and foster innovation and competitiveness in Europe’s core industries.
Germany’s transport minister Alexander Dobrindt used the Christmas break to silently legalise the use of megatrucks. Also known as gigaliners, the combination vehicles are up to 25.25m long can weigh up to 60 tonnes. But state secretary at the environment ministry, Jochen Flasbarth, is vocally opposing the move, saying megatrucks’ impact on the environment and on rail transport had not yet been sufficiently examined. He added that the decision is incompatible with EU law.
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.
Efforts to expose Europe’s rail companies to more competition have moved a step forward, with the EU’s Fourth Rail Package being approved by MEPs. The measure was controversial in some respects, but T&E has given the news a cautious welcome.
A total decarbonisation of the transport sector is possible. So says the findings of a 10-year German government-led project to find practical ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Spearheaded by the Öko-Institut, the ‘Renewbility’ project looked at solutions for all of Europe and its work was supported by German and Swiss-based research institutions but also by T&E’s German member VCD.
The European Commission has outlined its plans for new car and truck safety rules. Under the Commission's plans new cars would be fitted with intelligent speed assistance and emergency braking systems. For trucks, the Commission plans to introduce the world's first-ever direct vision standard to tackle truck blind spots. The new rules will be proposed as legislation in the summer of 2017 and would apply to all vehicles sold in the European Union. T&E welcomes the Commission's plans but warns that direct vision trucks must hit the road well before 2028.
By Bill Hemmings, aviation and shipping directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: 2015 ended with big promises from the UN aviation and shipping bodies, ICAO and the IMO, that they’d finally act to rein in their sectors’ substantial and growing climate impact. It has been almost 20 years since they were first tasked with doing so by the Kyoto Protocol, and 2016 would be their last chance.
By Greg Archer, clean vehicles directorWHAT WE LEARNED IN 2016: After many false dawns, 2016 is the year electric cars showed they are on a path to rapidly replacing the infernal combustion engine. There are now more than half a million battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on Europe’s roads, and annual sales are expected to top 1.5% of the market for the first time. While the figures are modest, Dieselgate has created an EV earthquake, shaking carmakers from their complacency.