The Environment Committee adopted its proposals to strengthen EU CO2 emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles, which include buses, trucks and trailers. The report was adopted on Tuesday with 48 votes in favour, 36 against and one abstention. It says that strengthening CO2 emission reduction requirements for heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) and rolling out the necessary recharging and refuelling infrastructure will play a key role in reducing the emissions of the entire HDVs fleet to achieve the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal.
Stricter overall target for 2035, zero-emission urban buses by 2030
MEPs want strong CO2 emissions reduction targets for medium and heavy trucks, including vocational vehicles (such as garbage trucks, tippers or concrete mixers) and buses. These targets would be set at 45% for the period 2030-2034, 70% for 2035-2039 (compared to 65% proposed by the Commission) and 90% as of 2040. MEPs agreed that all newly registered urban buses should be zero-emission vehicles from 2030. They added the possibility for member states to request a temporary exemption (until 2035) for interurban buses fuelled by biomethane, under strict conditions linked to the presence of refuelling infrastructure and to the fuel’s origin.

Other proposed measures include:

  • Setting up an annual “Zero-Emission HDVs Forum” to work on the effective and cost-efficient roll-out of recharging and refuelling infrastructure;
  • By end of 2026, the Commission should assess the possibility of developing a methodology for reporting full lifecycle CO2 emissions for new HDVs.

Rapporteur Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL) said: “The transition towards zero-emission trucks and buses is not only key to meeting our climate targets, but also a crucial driver for cleaner air in our cities. We are providing clarity for one of the major manufacturing industries in Europe and a clear incentive to invest in electrification and hydrogen. We’re building on the Commission’s proposal, but with more ambition. We want to expand the scope of the rules to small and medium-sized lorries and vocational vehicles – sectors which are especially important for urban air quality – and we’re adapting several targets and benchmarks to catch up with reality, as the transition is moving faster than expected.”

Next steps

MEPs are scheduled to adopt the report during the November II 2023 plenary sitting and will constitute Parliament’s negotiating position with EU governments on the final shape of the legislation.