Carmakers can free wheel to fuel efficiency targets, T&E report shows
Car manufacturers in Europe can free wheel their way to meeting targets to reduce CO2 emissions, Transport & Environment’s 2013 cars and CO2 report says. The report monitors the annual progress made by vehicle manufacturers to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new cars. The data shows that both premium and mainstream carmakers are on track to hit their 2015 and 2020 targets. The report also finds carmakers do not need loopholes such as supercredits and manipulation of tests, which effectively weaken the targets, to meet their CO2 limits.
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Since 2006, T&E’s report ‘How Clean are Europe’s Cars’ has been assessing carmakers’ efforts to cut CO2 emissions. Following the introduction of this law the annual rate of progress has tripled to 3.6%. The clear conclusion is that the targets are achievable for makers of all types and sizes of cars with appropriate planning.
Progress on reducing CO2 emissions from new cars after 2015 is being undermined by Germany’s efforts to build into the 2020 regulation generous supercredits for selling electric cars. Encouraged in particular by car luxury brand, BMW, the German government is calling for additional allowances that permit electric cars with no emissions to be counted multiple times. The report found that supercredits awarded to Nissan for selling just 2,800 electric cars  in 2012 effectively reduced its target by 2g/km. If the current trend of increasing sales of electric vehicles continues, supercredits would totally undermine the 95g/km target and result in it being met on paper but not on the road.
T&E clean vehicles manager Greg Archer said: “With appropriate planning Europe’s carmakers will meet their fuel efficiency targets without resorting to accountancy tricks like supercredits. The generous supercredits, that Germany is advocating, will increase both emissions and drivers’ fuel bills. European countries must hold firm on the 2020 deal struck in June.”
The report also highlights a growing disparity between fuel economy measured in tests and that achieved by drivers on the road. On average for all carmakers, more than half of the progress on CO2 has not been replicated on the road. For example, since 2006 BMW has achieved a 23% improvement in fuel efficiency in tests though data shows its cars have only improved by 9% on the road.
Greg Archer added: “Some carmakers are choosing to meet their targets by manipulating official tests and fitting technology that delivers little benefit on the road. Yet the report shows other carmakers, like Peugeot-Citroën and Toyota, are making excellent progress in reducing emissions without resorting to these tricks. All carmakers should focus on making lower carbon, more efficient cars instead of relying on loopholes to meet their goals.”