Climate target ambition must be matched by supportive EU policies, auto makers underline

Commercial vehicle registrations increase

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) takes note of the ‘2030 Climate Target Plan’ unveiled today by the European Commission. The auto industry supports the European Union’s long-term goal of climate neutrality by 2050, and wants to play its part in making Europe the first climate-neutral continent.
“It is clear that the EU strategy needs to be reviewed and adapted periodically to ensure that all parties are on track to meet its objectives,” stated ACEA’s Director General, Eric-Mark Huitema. “However, policy makers need to put in place not only targets but also the required supportive policies for all vehicle types, without which these targets will simply not be achievable.”

These policies include a dense EU-wide network of charging points and re-fuelling stations (with binding targets for member states), coupled with economically-sustainable incentive schemes, so that zero-emission mobility can become an accessible and affordable option for all Europeans. In addition, to support the transition to zero-emission mobility, all energy carriers should be part of a stronger EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) that applies a carbon price at a level that drives real change.

“The higher the climate targets become, the higher and more critical the ambition level of these enabling factors must also be,” Mr Huitema stressed.

As regards targets for CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and vans, the Commission should first ensure that the necessary enabling factors are actually delivered and strengthened, before going back to the drawing board to raise targets that were only set last year.

Huitema: “We recognise the desire to be a global trailblazer when it comes to climate action, but we will need an unprecedented regulatory shift to ensure all the right enabling factors are secured. Until we have a clearer vision on the accompanying policy framework and the impact assessment, it is difficult to predict what a realistic scenario is in terms of future CO2 targets.”

The EU auto industry dedicates a large part of its annual €60.9 billion R&D budget to decarbonisation. Indeed, because of these investments, EU sales of electrically-chargeable cars increased by 110% from 218,083 in 2017 to 458,915 last year. Investment in infrastructure, however, is falling behind this growth. During the same period, the number of charging points for electric cars only grew by 58% for example.

The ambitious targets laid out in today’s Commission proposal will require massive additional investments from the auto industry, at the very time when the industry has been rocked by the coronavirus crisis.