On 8 November 2017, the Commission presented a package, which sets new vehicle CO2 emissions targets and which is to promote zero-emission vehicles. According to the Commission, this shall signify a step against climate change and continue the transition towards a modern, low-CO2 economy. However, in the end the Commission backed away from stricter limits or binding targets for electric vehicles, which had been expected beforehand.
The Communication “Delivering on low-emission mobility” contains strong and groundbreaking words: “The future of our planet is at stake” and “Decisive action on emissions from transport is therefore essential” reads the introduction. And the findings regarding the current situation also show that action is needed in road transport. It is estimated that passenger traffic will increase by 42 % by 2050, good transport even by 60 %. Given the fact that after the energy sector, transport is the major cause of greenhouse emissions in Europe, new measures for cleaner vehicles are of vital importance. Hence, the Commission regards the recent package as a continuation of the path, which has already been pursued with the presentation of the Energy Package in November 2016 and the Mobility Package in May 2017.
In concrete terms, the Package contains four legislative proposals. In first place is the Regulation on CO2 standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles. The proposal provides for new CO2 standards, specifying that the average consumption of the vehicle fleet, compared to 2021, has to be 15 % lower by 2025 and 30 % by 2030. According to the Commission, this is an ambitious but realistic target to promote the transition of vehicles with conventional combustion engines towards clean vehicles. However, non-governmental organisations, such as the European Consumers Organisation BEUC, assess these proposals differently; they demand at least 40 % lower limits for 2030.
A mandatory quota for electric vehicles had also been considered beforehand. However, this idea was rejected by the Commission, which has to be regarded as a lobbying success of the European automobile industry in Brussels.
Apart from the proposal on CO2 standards, the Commission also presented an action plan for the Europe-wide introduction of electric car charging points, for which 800 million Euro shall be made available. Furthermore, there is also the review of the “Directive on the Promotion of Clean and Energy Efficient Road Transport Vehicles” and the “Regulation on Common Rules for Access to the International Market for Coach and Bus Services”, which shall provide lower-emission public sector and public transport fleets. The Combined Transport Directive shall accelerate the transportation of goods by rail and water. Finally, the Commission is starting a battery initiative to ensure that Europe strengthens its role in promoting the development of electric mobility.