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CO2 targets for cars: European auto industry sets out post-2021 framework

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has laid out the industry’s pathway to future CO2 reductions.

It made the announcement at the Frankfurt motor show, before the European Commission reveals its proposal on CO2 targets for cars post-2021 later this year.

ACEA proposes a 20% CO2 reduction for passenger cars by 2030, compared to 2021.

“This is a steep reduction,” stated ACEA president, Dieter Zetsche. “It’s also in line with what is expected of other industry sectors, as well as the EU Climate and Energy Framework and the global Paris agreement.”

This target should be conditional on the real market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles and the availability of charging infrastructure for alternatively-powered vehicles – which are crucial to achieve any significant CO2 reductions beyond 2020 levels.

Concretely this means that, based on a mid-term review in 2025, this target could be adapted either upwards or downwards.

“In our opinion, this conditionality principle links Europe’s long-term climate objectives to the reality of the market,” Zetsche explained.

“Currently the reality is that the market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles is low – and this is not due to lack of availability and choice.”

The latest ACEA data show that in the first half of 2017 electrically-chargeable vehicles made up 1.2% of total new car sales.

However, equally important is that all EU member states start delivering on their commitments to step up investments in the necessary recharging and refuelling infrastructure.

In the interim, modern diesel technology will continue to play an important role in the gradual transition to low-carbon vehicles.

Zetsche said: “The latest generation of diesel vehicles is a very effective lever to achieve climate goals in the near future, because they emit 15-20% less CO2 than equivalent petrol vehicles.

“Our industry is committed to being part of the solution when it comes to decarbonising road transport, while at the same time reducing pollutant emissions.”

ACEA also calls on the European Commission to consider the most cost-effective solutions and to take into account the social implications of the transition to low-carbon vehicles. 

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