CO2 emissions from vans: time to put them back on track

Light commercial vehicles, or vans, are a neglected area of EU road transport policy as they are often exempt from safety and environmental policy such as driving regulations or tolls, compared to their direct competitors, trucks. This enhances their attractiveness and in part explains why their use and emissions are growing. CO2 standards for van makers are much weaker than for cars, as a result van makers do not deploy the same efficient and innovative technologies to vans to lower their emissions.

A CE Delft analysis for T&E look at current market as well as emission technologies and their costs in the light commercial vehicles sector. Amidst the rapidly decreasing battery costs, CE Delft show that electric vans in the smaller segment have already reached cost parity with diesel models in 2018. This means that at least 800,000 small electric vans have the potential to be driven across Europe but the key barrier remains a lack of appropriate supply.

A number of legislative proposals currently on the table can put vans back on track. Ambitious 2025 and 2030 van CO2 standards, complemented by an effective zero emission crediting and debiting system, are needed but the latest Commission clean mobility package proposals are weak and inadequate. The Eurovignette directive should extend the current road charging rules to also cover large vans to create level playing field for cross-border freight transport.

Below you can view and download the CE Delft study, our briefing on vans post 2020 CO2 standards and the social problems associated with no regulation.