Letter to European Institutions – Subject: European CO2 emission standards for cars, vans and trucks

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April 2020


Commission President von der Leyen

Vice-President Timmermans

Vice-President Dombrovskis

Commissioner Valean


Pascal Canfin MEP

Karima Delli MEP

Subject: European CO2 emission standards for cars, vans and trucks

Europe has been embraced in a devastating health calamity, which has already led to immense economic and social consequences. As COVID-19 is bringing Europe to a halt, major carmakers and many suppliers – like the rest of the EU economy – are shutting down their factories. The ultimate priority now is beyond doubt to ensure the health of citizens and the job security of the millions of workers who are likely to need government support as they lose income or are sent into temporary unemployment. Governments must ensure workers throughout the car supply chains remain employed, but this is not the time to roll back Europe’s cornerstone emissions rules, such as the CO2 targets for cars, vans & trucks.

A speedy recovery of the EU economy should be everyone’s absolute top priority to ensure investments continue, jobs are secured and consumer buying power bounces back. The recovery should build and strengthen the European Green Deal momentum by providing green stimuli for the EU to emerge stronger and more resilient to the climate crisis.

We therefore note with grave concern the suggestion by some parts of the automotive industry to weaken the crucial regulations, notably the EU car, van and truck CO2 standards that enter force this year. Following years of growing CO2 emissions from road transport and lack of investments into clean technology, the first months of 2020 saw an unprecedented growth in sales of electric cars, growing by 92% despite the overall market declining. This has brought new business and job opportunities in other key sectors of the economy, such as grid works and charging infrastructure, which will be at serious risk if the European e-mobility transition is hampered.

The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting decline in car sales do not automatically mean that compliance with the EU vehicle emissions standards is at risk. Cars, vans or trucks standards are based on fleet average sales, so what matters are not the numbers of cars sold but rather the technology or powertrain fitted to those. With the electric car market booming in early 2020, some of this momentum can and should be salvaged by smart green stimulus measures that are to come.

Most vehicles in Europe are bought via lease contracts, so it is crucial to provide targeted support to continue the purchase new zero emission vehicles in this market, for public and private fleets, as well as consumers. Hundreds of electric models are coming to the market, which if combined with targeted support for charging infrastructure, would be an affordable and suitable electric option for businesses across Europe. For example, through The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative, 69 companies worldwide are already looking to electrify over 2.5 million vehicles by 2030, and roughly half of these – over a million – are in the EU. This includes big brands such as Deutsche Post DHL, EDP, Ingka Group (IKEA), as well as major vehicle leasing companies. EV100 companies are asking auto manufacturers to increase EV supply to address number one barrier to their fleet electrification ambitions.

Finally, during the 2009 crisis the new car CO2 emissions fell by a record 5,1%. This was thanks to consumers shifting towards smaller, less powerful vehicles, which would also help now – there are currently at least 35 conventional models with emissions under 95g/km available on the EU market alongside over 50 small and medium-sized electric cars.

We therefore call on you to keep in place the EU’s 2020 CO2 targets for passenger cars, commercial vehicle and heavy-duty vehicles unchanged – and assure full compliance to ensure the urgently needed investments take place and for the sake of Europe’s regulatory credibility. Rather than altering the regulation or penalties, the focus should be on economic support to ensure jobs and green investment are maintained.

Utilities across Europe remain ready and committed to fully integrate electrified vehicles in the power system. Investments in zero-carbon infrastructure and innovative solutions now are the most cost-effective route to economic recovery domestically and EU-wide while at the same time preparing the grounds for a secure and sustainable energy system.

Europe was finally entering the clean mobility transformation, with new businesses across the e-mobility value chain committed to bringing new jobs and green growth. Now is not the time to roll back the ambition of the existing vehicle emission regulations nor the longer term European Green Deal. Europe should ensure the green recovery ensures its businesses emerge from the crisis stronger and greener, ready for the climate challenge ahead of them.

Yours Sincerely,