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New CO2 targets for trucks must be achievable in practice

Posted on: 12/02/2019

Ahead of the final EU negotiations on CO2 standards for trucks, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association has reiterated its support for a timely agreement.

At the same time, ACEA has also cautioned policy makers that these first-ever CO2 targets will only be achievable if they are accompanied by the right package of measures to address the structural challenges faced by truck makers and operators alike.

“When finalising these new standards,” ACEA’s Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert, said, “it is essential that decision makers take into account the long investment cycles of truck manufacturers, the low operating margins of transport operators, as well as the absence of charging and refuelling infrastructure for alternatively-powered trucks.”

ACEA believes that delivering on the ambitious truck CO2 targets proposed for 2025 and 2030 will only be possible if customer uptake of zero- and low-emission trucks increases drastically.  And yet, recent data shows there are no public charging points suitable for electric or hydrogen trucks available in the EU today, nor is there is a clear action plan for the roll-out of this infrastructure in the near future.

In addition, ACEA believes that meaningful incentives to promote the early adoption of zero- and low-emission trucks are essential.  The industry therefore supports the incentive mechanism proposed by the European Commission, which should be maintained at least until 2030.

However, the introduction of mandatory sales quotas (via a ‘benchmark’ system, as proposed by the European Parliament) would be risky for Europe’s truck industry.  Dictating to manufacturers that they must produce a certain amount of zero-emission vehicles will not guarantee that market uptake will follow, especially given the lack of infrastructure as well as other obstacles – such as loss of payload and limited range.

Erik Jonnaert added: “What we are calling for as part of this regulation is an effective framework of supportive measures for both manufacturers and truck operators to ensure that the ambitious CO2 targets that are soon to be adopted will prove to be achievable in practice.”