ACEA welcomes revision to weights and dimensions directive

A revision to the weights and dimensions directive could remove barriers that hinder the uptake of zero emission vehicles, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) reported.

The European Commission plans to revise Council Directive 96/53/EC on the maximum weights and dimensions of heavy-duty vehicles (‘Weights and Dimensions Directive’) with the aim of aligning it with targets set for the reduction of greenhouse emissions from transport.

Battery-electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles will have to become the backbone of road transport if the sector is to reach its decarbonisation targets according to the ACEA.

“These new powertrain technologies come with additional requirements with respect to available space in the vehicles, total vehicle weight and axle weights,” said ACEA. “These differences to conventionally powered vehicles should now be addressed to enable and support the market uptake of zero emission vehicles.”

The association said the revision should focus on two key elements: Specific provisions on vehicle dimensions, total weights and axle weights to accelerate the market uptake of zero emission vehicles; and longer and heavier vehicle combinations: European Modular System (EMS).

The objective of ACEA’s recommendations is to remove barriers that hinder the market uptake of ZEVs and place them on a level playing field with conventionally powered vehicles with respect to payload.

The review, ACEA said, also needs to be carried out in the context of the wider regulatory framework. In particular, it needs to be accompanied by revisions (ideally made simultaneously) to other relevant regulations, eg (EU) 2021/535, Annex XIII.

ACEA would also recommend that the text and structure of the Weights and Dimensions Directive is thoroughly analysed, clarified and simplified to reduce complexity and minimise potential confusion and contradictions.

In other news, Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault Group, has been elected as ACEA President for 2023.

Effective 1 January 2023, de Meo will take over the presidency from BMW’s CEO, Oliver Zipse, who has held the position for the last two years.

ACEA’s outgoing President, Zipse, said: “These past years have been marked by the Covid pandemic, supply chain disruptions, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis – all of which have had a profound impact on our sector.

“Nevertheless, the European auto industry has been the reliable industrial backbone of the EU in highly volatile times. At the same time, we have been cautioning against over-regulation and calling for technology-neutrality to be the base of EU competitiveness.”

ACEA’s incoming President, de Meo, said: “Looking ahead, we need Europe urgently to implement policies that fully support our decarbonisation goal, and enable us to face growing global competition.

“We welcome the work on a European Raw Materials Act, which should support the continent’s economic resilience and the shift to zero-emissions. Our industry is committed to investing heavily in e-mobility, and to securing value creation and jobs in Europe.

“The Euro 7 proposal in its current shape, however, would draw away massive human and financial resources from electrification, at the very time when other world regions are creating an attractive investment environment for zero-emissions mobility.”

“ACEA will continue to advocate for a balance between what is good for the environment, what is good for Europe’s economy and what is good for society.”

The ACEA President is elected for a year-long term, once renewable, from the CEOs of its member companies – the major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers.