After many false dawns the electric car is finally on a trajectory to replace the internal combustion engine.
At least 80 per cent (20 million) of Europe's 26 million illegally polluting diesel cars remain unfixed by national regulators in Europe more than a year after the Dieselgate scandal broke, new evidence shows. Documents obtained by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) reveal that governments are blocking any independent on-road checks of cars and oversight of national testing agencies. Ministers meeting at Transport Council this Thursday will attempt to derail European Commission efforts to have dirty diesel cars fixed. Meanwhile MEPs in the environment committee today voted to establish a new independent EU watchdog for testing, much like the US EPA.
This briefing outlines how, more than a year since the VW scandal broke and almost a year since the new reform of EU testing system was proposed, there is minimal progress to tackle the legacy of dirty diesel cars on the road. No action whatsoever has been taken to reduce the emissions of 80% of the most grossly emitting diesel cars. Out of the 20% of cars subject to some recalls. The briefing also outlines how the latest leaked documents reveal that the majority of member states are also trying to block and weaken any future reform on the newly proposed Type Approval Framework Regulation, stripping the Commission of any powers to do independent checks on in-use vehicles.
This report, released on the first anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal, exposes the shocking number of dirty diesel cars on the EU’s roads and the feeble regulation of cars by national authorities that have focused on protecting their own commercial interests or those of domestic carmakers. In the US, following the disclosure that VW had cheated emissions tests, justice has been swiftly and effectively delivered. This is in stark contrast to Europe where VW claims it has not acted illegally, no penalties have been levied and no compensation has been provided to customers.
The Environment Committee of the European Parliament will vote next week on noise limits for vehicles. The compromise proposal put forward by the lead MEP has been drafted by sports car manufacturer Porsche.
EU governments must step back from irreparably weakening Europe’s biggest climate law, six of Europe’s leading environmental NGOs have said, after talks between member states and the European Parliament ended in deadlock this week. The proposed Effort Sharing Regulation sets binding national emission reduction targets for the 2021-2030 period, but governments are insistent on loopholes that would actually result in hundreds of millions of tonnes in additional CO2 emissions.
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."
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.
Last week I was in Munich for the so-called LKW-Gipfel; a summit of Europe’s truck industry executives. The Gipfel had an impressive line up. But before the CEOs of MAN, IVECO, Volvo and Scania delivered their keynotes, Matthias Wissmann, the German automotive industry’s (VDA) chief lobbyist, was given the stage.