EC low-emission mobility strategy aims to curb CO2 from transport sector

The European Commission (EC) has published its low-emission transport strategy that aims to drastically reduce harmful emissions by 2030 through facilitating a faster take-up of cleaner vehicles and fuels.

Objectives include roll-out of a certification and reporting process to measure fuel consumption and CO2 emissions on HGVs, with the EC also looking to introduce measures to “actively curb” CO2 emissions from lorries, buses and coaches.

Countries outside of Europe, such as the US and Japan, have already brought in CO2 curbing measures and Europe “cannot lag behind”, the EC warned. It therefore plans to speed up work on designing CO2 emissions standards for larger vehicles.

“Given the average lifetime of a lorry of about 10 years, vehicles sold in 2020 will still be on European roads in 2030. In order to be able to make swift progress, different options for standards will be considered, including for engines only or for the whole vehicle, with the objective of cutting carbon well before 2030,” the EU strategy said.

Other measures include more distance-based road-charging, alongside work to improve EU-wide interoperability of electronic tolling systems; a revision to the directive on HGV charging to enable fees to take into account CO2 differentiation; and frameworks for all member states for boosting development of alternative fuels and infrastructure and promoting multimodal transport.

The FTA said the strategy is a step in the right direction, and welcomed the multi-faceted approach.

Pauline Bastidon, FTA head of European policy, said: “An effective framework for low emission alternative energy and an adequate roll-out of infrastructure for alternative fuels are key for us and can go a long way in helping the logistics sector reduce its carbon footprint.”

However, the FTA added that two key issues were not adequately addressed in the strategy: grants to support take-up of new technology; and changes to vehicle weights and dimensions.

“The EC needs to ensure that financial instruments providing guarantees to private investors are not the only source of funding available for the take-up of new technologies, and we would also like to see changes to vehicle weights and dimensions considered as a fundamental measure to reduce carbon emissions,” Bastidon added.

The ACEA, which represents vehicle manufacturers across Europe, called for a more balanced approach to reducing CO2 emissions, with more emphasis on all modes of transport – including air, maritime and rail.

It added that technology neutrality is key to supporting innovation and welcomed the fact this principle was embedded in the new strategy.

The association added that industry is working closely with the EC on a computer simulation tool (VECTO), which will model CO2 emissions from a wide variety of complete truck and trailer configurations. By 2018, VECTO will enable manufacturers to provide certified CO2 values to their customers for each and every truck produced.

ACEA urged the EC to allow enough time to analyse the impact of VECTO data and certification procedure before setting new CO2 limits.