The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) is standing by Paris climate protection plan goals to drive the CO2 transformation forward with innovations and investments.
According to VDA, the European fleet regulation is a central instrument on the way to climate neutrality in the transport sector.
“The draft law presented today [14 February 2023] by the European Commission on fleet regulation for heavy commercial vehicles is extremely ambitious in view of the charging and hydrogen infrastructure – which has unfortunately been insufficient up to now,” said VDA President, Hildegard Müller.
“The EU is significantly tightening the CO2 limits without adopting the necessary accompanying measures. Those measures should have ensured that alternative drives can actually be ramped up.
“Without speed and determination concerning the necessary framework conditions, in particular the corresponding infrastructural investments, the goal will hardly be achievable.”
With the new fleet targets, more than 98 per cent of heavy goods traffic will be regulated with regard to CO2 emissions from 2030 onwards.
The VDA said with the 90 per cent reduction in the fleet limit planned for 2040 compared to 2019, the EU Commission now wants to set very ambitious goals.
“As an intermediate stage, it should already be 45 per cent in 2030 and a sporty 65 per cent is set for 2035,” the association said in a statement.
“The potential for avoiding CO2 emissions through emission-free heavy goods traffic is enormous – heavy trucks and buses currently emit around a third of the CO2 emissions in road traffic.”
According to Müller, charging and hydrogen filling stations is crucial for success.
“In order for ambitious goals to actually be achieved, a sufficiently dense network of charging and hydrogen filling stations for heavy commercial vehicles throughout Europe is a necessary prerequisite – in addition to a sufficient range of vehicles, which we are committed to,” she said.
“This is currently all but available. It is therefore all the more problematic that the EU Commission’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) is far too sluggish.
“As long as it is not clear when there is a sufficient, publicly accessible charging and refuelling network for the heavy vehicle classes in long-distance transport, the desired CO2 reduction targets and the dates for phasing out combustion engines for heavy commercial vehicles are purely symbolic.”
Müller also believes freight forwarders and transport companies need incentives.
“A comprehensive fleet renewal towards CO2 emission-free vehicles may come about if sufficient incentives are created for freight forwarders and transport companies, such as subsidies, toll exemptions and tax breaks for zero-emission trucks and buses,” she said.
“This is the only way to encourage and enable freight forwarders and transport companies to sufficiently invest in CO2 emission-free vehicles.”
The amendment to the law introduced by the EU Commission will replace the previously applicable CO2 limits for 2030.
Müller suggested the target tightening should be final this time in order to give manufacturers planning security.
“The EU should therefore establish a regular monitoring process to check whether the ramp-up of electromobility can succeed,” she said.
“If necessary, specific measures can then be taken. Above all, criteria such as the ramp-up of the charging and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure or the availability of raw materials must be taken into account.”
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