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EU ministers agree 35% CO2 cut for new cars by 2030

Highlights

Mid-point target between EC, EP positions

Targets are EU fleet-wide

Branded unrealistic by automakers

London — New passenger cars registered in the EU from 2030 must emit 35% less CO2 compared to current standards, EU lawmakers said Wednesday.

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The European Council target, agreed by environment ministers late Tuesday, is tougher than the 30% proposed by the European Commission but less than the 40% called for by the European Parliament last week.

Negotiations with the European Parliament are to start immediately, the council said.

However, automakers warned Wednesday that a 35% target was technically and economically unrealistic.

In addition to the CO2 target for cars, environment ministers agreed a 30% CO2 reduction target for light commercial vans by 2030 and interim targets of 15% reductions for both cars and vans by 2025, in line with EC recommendations.

The targets set the European automotive industry "on track to build cleaner cars, invest more in innovation, and report more reliable emission data," the council said.

These are EU wide fleet targets, it said. The reduction effort is to be spread among manufacturers on the basis of the average mass of their vehicle fleet.

On a new incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles, meanwhile, the council again adjusted the EC's proposal, agreeing a better weighting for low-emission vehicles in the mechanism.

And it agreed a specific incentive for manufacturers to sell zero- and low-emission cars in markets where the sale of these types of vehicles is below 60% of the EU average.

Meanwhile car manufacturers will have to report more robust and more representative car and van emission data, the council said, with strengthened provisions on manufacturers to report measured values instead of declared values.

The targets are to be based on Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure values.

WLTP values became mandatory for all new car models from September 2017, and for all new cars from September 2018.

'UNREALISTIC'

The German car industry viewed the 35% target as "unrealistic" both on a technical and an economic level, Bernhard Mattes, president of national automaker association VDA, said Wednesday.

"In no other part of the world are comparable targets in sight," Mattes said. "This means the European automobile industry will be negatively impacted."

While less aggressive than the 40% voted by the European Parliament last week, the targets "still risk having a negative impact on industry competitiveness, auto workers and consumers alike," said Erik Jonnaert of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA).

Jonnaert warned that penalties supported by MEPs for failing to meet zero- and low-emission vehicle targets combined with high sales quotas were not in line with reality or the principle of technology neutrality.

The VDA called on EU member states to take responsibility for rolling out electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Three quarters of Europe's charging points are concentrated in four countries: the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, it said.

German utility association BDEW welcomed the council's announcement as an important signal for the energy transition in the transport sector.

EV charging points for electric vehicles in Germany have reached 13,500, up 25% year on year, with utilities operating three out of four of them. Due to the slow uptake of EVs, however, many charging points were uneconomic to operate, it said.

Germany has delayed its target of 1 million EVs on the road from 2020 to 2022.

Some 13.3 million people - over 6% of the EU employed population - work directly and indirectly in the automobile sector. It generates a trade surplus of Eur90.3 billion ($104 billion) for the EU, ACEA said.

--Henry Edwardes-Evans, henry.edwardes-evans@spglobal.com

--Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Loades-Carter, jonathan.carter@spglobal.com