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Ahead of the vote on CO2 standards for trucks: Automotive suppliers call for realistically ambitious


13 Nov 2018


Climate & Environment
Tomorrow in Strasbourg, members of the European Parliament will vote on their position on CO2 standards for heavy duty vehicles, likely adopting targets that go significantly beyond the already ambitious proposals made by the European Commission.  
“Increasing the targets further risks setting regulatory boundaries that go beyond what is technically feasible in this vehicle segment,” says Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA, the European association of the automotive supplier industry. “Automotive suppliers fully support the objective of reducing emissions and deliver many technologies to achieve this. However, the sector calls for realistically ambitious targets to best support the transformation that is unmistakably underway.” 
“Even more than passenger vehicles, European trucks are already highly efficient. Trucks are tools for businesses, therefore fuel consumption is a major cost factor and efficiency a key criterion for purchase decisions. This drives efficiency in the fleet. Furthermore, depending on the category of truck, the deployment and viability of technology options such as hybridisation and electrification is much more limited. Specifically, for long-haul transport the efficient combustion engine and low carbon liquid fuel will remain a necessity. A meaningful review of the long-term target is indispensable to adapt the regulation if necessary, accounting for technology development and market demand”, says de Vries 
The 2030 target is to be subject to a review, which industry welcomes. Some lawmakers suggest however that the review may only result in a stricter target. Furthermore, MEPs will vote on a minimum quota for the sale of zero- and low-emission vehicles replacing sales incentives. The Plenary will vote on a proposal to adapt the definition of a low-emission vehicle (LEV) to the respective vehicle categories. A vehicle is considered a LEV if it emits less than a proportion of the average emissions per vehicle in its group:
“The new definition makes sure that the incentive is effective in each vehicle category. This is important. However, the threshold should be chosen realistically. 50% below the average could only be achieved by electric vehicles, 35% would be adequate. It is important to defend the principle of technology neutrality. We need to deploy all technology options available to effectively and efficiently reduce emissions while managing the transformation of the industry and mobility decisively yet sensibly.” 
The Parliament also calls for a “malus,” a penalty for manufacturers which fail to achieve a benchmark of electric vehicles as a proportion of their overall sales. “These proposals run counter to the principle of technology neutrality,” says de Vries. 
MEPs will likely confirm their request to the Commission to examine the development of a methodology for the life-cycle analysis of embedded emissions in fuel and energy production as well as the construction of the vehicle and parts. “Making the step further towards well-to-wheel or life-cycle analysis is important to level the playing field between combustion engines and electric vehicles. Automotive suppliers have long been arguing in favour of a well-to-wheel approach for future legislation,” says de Vries.
With the vote on Wednesday, the European Parliament is slightly ahead of the Council. Member States are continuing their examination of the file. The Austrian presidency confirms the aim to conclude before the end of the year, but this seems increasingly challenging as many member states in the working party do not yet have a position. Once both institutions have adopted their respective positions, tripartite negotiations will resume to amend and adopt the legislation. Depending on the pace of progress the codecision procedure may only be concluded after the European elections. 
Note to the editor:
CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, represents over 3.000 companies supplying state-of-the-art components and innovative technology for safe, smart and sustainable mobility, investing over 20 billion euros yearly in research and development. Automotive suppliers in Europe employ nearly five million people across the continent.
For more information, please contact: 
CLEPA- Pilar Perez (


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