Car manufacturers shoulder burden of EC push for low-emissions

July 22, 2016

The EC has revealed plans to accelerate a shift towards zero-emission vehicles by 2030 but the strategy could bring higher costs for manufacturers.

It focuses on changing car technology to plug-in hybrids, electric and fuel cell vehicles, while also encouraging improvements to the internal combustion engine.

The EC also wants to speed up deployment of a pan-European recharging network with standard connectors, while also rolling out new bio-fuels and synthetic fuels. 

This is part of a binding EU commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 2005. For some larger EU economies, the cuts are nearly 40%. 

Manufacturers, although supportive, say new cars make up just 5% of the entire motor vehicle fleet, so new technologies will take years to bring down average transport emissions.

In addition, their €44.7 billion annual research and development spending already has a focus on preparing for the EC’s real-world emissions tests, as many current vehicles only meet regulations in test conditions, not on the road.

The EV transition also requires public support, which may be the biggest challenge, particularly if problems with capacity in the public recharging network spread as EV use increases and governments start taxing EVs more highly to replace lost revenue from fossil fuels as the zero-emission parc grows.

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