By 2050, nearly all cars and vans on the roads will need to be zero-emission vehicles. The CO2 emission standards for cars and vans are key drivers for reducing CO2 emissions in the road transport sector. What new CO2 emission standards are proposed for cars and vans?

In 2020, despite the shrinking overall market for new vehicles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the total number of electric cars registered tripled, reaching for the first time over 1 million a year. More and more affordable electric car models are coming to market. With the increased supply of zero-emission car models, they should become more affordable still.

As of 1 January 2020, the increasing market share coincides with the phase-in of stricter CO2 emissions standards for cars. Today, the Commission proposes to strengthen the current standards further. The fleet of newly registered vehicles has to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 and by 100% by 2035 compared to 2021. For new vans, the reduction targets are 50% and 100%, respectively.

These strengthened CO2 emission standards will incentive the deployment of significantly more zero-emission vehicles on the Union market. Therefore, the regulatory incentive mechanism for zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV), whose objective is to support early market uptake, would no longer serve its original purpose and is removed as of 2030. All car and van manufacturers will have to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Therefore the derogation for small volume manufacturers – that selling between 1,000 and 10,000 new cars or 22,000 new vans in a calendar year – is removed as of 2030.

Stronger CO2 standards are beneficial from a decarbonisation point of view and provide benefits for citizens through lower energy expenditure and better air quality. At the same time, they offer a clear and long-term signal to guide both the automotive sector’s investments in innovative zero-emission technologies, as well as the rollout of recharging and refuelling infrastructure. Innovation in zero-emission mobility is key for maintaining the leadership of the EU industry in automotive technology and stimulating employment into new technologies.

The Commission’s impact assessment shows that also due to fuel savings, zero-emission cars bring benefits in all income groups, including and especially low-income households for whom fuel cost is a relatively large monthly household cost.

Source: European Commission

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