Fleet News

Manufacturers face even tougher emissions targets

Manufacturers will face stricter new emissions targets for cars and vans after MEPs voted to tighten the rules.

Carmakers will have to hit a new car average of 95g/km of CO2 by 2020, down from 130g/km in 2015, while an indicative target of 68-75g/km has been set from 2025.

A draft report confirming a target of 147g/km for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) has also been approved, with a suggested target of between 105g/km and 120g/km from 2025.

In addition, the European Parliament’s environment committee has said that a new, tougher emissions testing regime should be introduced “as a matter of urgency”, while it rubber stamped proposals to electronically limit van speeds to 75mph in an effort to cut emissions.

Although the committee’s decision still has to be confirmed by the full European Parliament, EU member states and the Commission, manufacturers and the UK Government have already starting criticising the 2025 standard.

Europe’s carmaker umbrella organisation ACEA labelled it a “political target” and called for a “more realistic and balanced approach to CO2 emissions policy”.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport (DfT) told Fleet News that it was important to “strike the right balance” by supporting ambitious targets, while not hindering industry growth or competitiveness.

A spokesman added: “We would only consider specific targets following a Commission review and assessment of the impacts to ensure that target levels were ambitious, but realistic and based on sound evidence.”

Vauxhall says it is working hard with its next generation of engines to achieve the 95g/km target, but a spokesman said it did not believe the data was available yet “to set targets beyond 2020”. Volkswagen and Ford were also critical of the 2025 standard.

In hitting the 2020 target, manufacturers will have a degree of flexibility in the form of so-called super credits, which assign a favourable weighting to cars and vans that emit less than 50g/km.

However, the introduction of the new World Light Duty Test Procedure (WLTP) to replace the current New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test could make targets even tougher to hit.

Fleets have seen real-world consumption figures falling short of claimed fuel economy rates, while manufacturers have made the most of a testing regime which is conducted in a laboratory and not on the road (Fleet News, May 24, 2012).

The tougher test, which MEPs want to see in use by 2017, would aim to reduce the shortfall and comes in the wake of another critical report.

The study, from the International Council on Clean Transportation, reveals that while the average discrepancy between type approval and on-road CO2 emissions was below 10% in 2001, by 201 it had increased to around 25%.

"European politicians need to end the current manipulation of fuel economy data,” said Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at Transport and Environment – an environmental NGO (non-government organisation). “The current test is more than 30 years old and unrepresentative of real-world driving conditions.” 

The European Parliament will now start negotiations with European ministers and the Commission. Ireland, holder of the rotating EU presidency, has said it hopes for a deal on vehicle emissions before the end of June.
 

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