The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has welcomed an initiative to explore how to further decarbonise transport in Europe, following the publication of the ‘European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility’ by the European Commission.
“The automobile industry is fully committed to continue reducing CO2 emissions across all business segments, from passenger cars to trucks,” stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.
However, as this strategy puts all the emphasis on road transport, the ACEA is calling for a more balanced approach, addressing all modes of transport – including air, maritime and rail.
Technology neutrality is key to supporting innovation and thus greater fuel-efficiency, so the ACEA has welcomed the fact that this principle is enshrined in the communication. “All vehicle manufacturers will continue investing in both internal combustion engines as well as the full range of alternative powertrains that meet the demands of both private and business customers,” stated Jonnaert. “As the Communication rightly points out however, a wider roll-out of infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles is needed to enable a stronger market uptake of zero- or low-emissions vehicles by 2030.”
Although the strategy discusses digital mobility, pricing and energy sources, the ACEA notes that most of the binding measures proposed relate only to new vehicle technology, with insufficient focus on the other important factors that influence emissions during the use of the vehicle, such as fuels, faster fleet renewal, improving infrastructure, altering driver behavior, and leveraging the potential of connected and automated vehicles. Jonnaert: “Focusing on new vehicle technology alone will have limited environmental benefits. A more effective approach would seek to address the full fleet and look at how these vehicles are used.”
Depending on their mission, most trucks are custom-built on an individual basis, often in a multi-stage process, in order to meet specific requirements. CO2 reduction policy for heavy-duty vehicles should therefore not follow the same approach as that for passenger cars, the ACEA cautions.