On February 14, 2023 the EU Commission announced a 100% zero CO2 emission target for new heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) from 2030 onwards, covering over 6% of total EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and more than 25% of GHG emissions from road transport. For this purpose the Commission proposes phasing in stronger CO2 emissions standards for almost all new HDVs with certified CO2 emissions, compared to 2019 levels, however at fleet level, specifically:
- 45% emissions reductions from 2030;
- 65% emission reductions from 2035
- 90% emissions reduction from 2040.
To stimulate faster deployment of zero-emission buses in cities, the Commission also proposes to make all new city buses zero-emission as of 2030. The Commission stopped short of proposing 100% reduction levels by 2040 triggering strong reactions of environmental groups questioning the realistic achievement of the EU’s overall net zero CO2 ambitions if this proposal takes effect.
On the same day our European representation of the people, the Europarliament, with 340 votes in favour, 279 against and 21 abstentions, approved the deal reached with the Council on revised CO2 emission performance standards for new cars and vans. Also here fossil and combustion engines will remain remain present on European roads till the second part of this millennium.
The new legislation should lead towards zero CO2 emissions for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2035 (an EU fleet-wide target to reduce CO2 emissions produced by new cars and vans by 100% compared to 2021). Intermediate emissions reduction targets for 2030 are set at 55% for cars and 50% for vans. Other key aspects of the measures included:
- The Commission will present by 2025 a methodology to assess and report data on CO2 emissions throughout the full life-cycle of cars and vans sold on the EU market, accompanied by legislative proposals where appropriate;
- By December 2026, the Commission will monitor the gap between the emission limit values and the real-world fuel and energy consumption data, report on a methodology for adjusting the manufacturers’ specific CO2 emissions, and propose appropriate follow-up measures;
- Manufacturers responsible for small production volumes in a calendar year (1 000 to 10 000 new cars or 1 000 to 22 000 new vans) may be granted a derogation until the end of 2035 (those registering fewer than 1 000 new vehicles per year continue to be exempt);
- The current zero- and low- emission vehicles (ZLEV) incentive mechanism, which rewards manufacturers that sell more such vehicles (with emissions from zero to 50g CO2/km, such as electric vehicles and well-performing plug-in hybrids) with lower CO2 emission reduction targets, will be adapted to meet expected sales trends. From 2025 to 2029, the ZLEV benchmark is set at 25% for the sales of new cars, and 17% for new vans, and as of 2030 the incentive will be removed;
- Every two years, starting from the end of 2025, the Commission will publish a report to evaluate the progress towards zero-emission road mobility.
Photo: Courtesy COOP Switzerland