Europe will “miss its commitments made under the Paris Agreement as well as its global competitiveness” if its policymakers do not deliver “concrete and ambitious action” to speed up the development and roll-out of zero emission vehicles.

That’s the warning from Henning Hader, Manager for Energy Policy, Climate & Sustainability at European electricity trade group eurelectric.

Writing for the forthcoming issue of PEi magazine, Hader says that the increase in countries introducing targets to phase out diesel and petrol has “triggered an avalanche of announcements from car companies about their intention to produce more EVs”.Proposed EU 2030 CO2 standards for cars and vans are soft on car makers and hard on climate, writes Henning Hader

“Considering that EVs are getting ready for mass deployment, policymakers and industry players must ensure that these technologies live up to their potential.”

In November last year the European Commission published its proposals for emission standards proposals for new cars and vans until 2030.

These targets suggest a 30 per cent emission reduction compared to 2021 levels. But Hader argues that they “fail to include a mandate for the sales of low-and zero-emission that has proven very effective in other markets. If adopted, the Commission’s plans will certainly bring more electric vehicles onto European roads, but the lack of ambition would mean that Europe will continue to lag behind other markets such as China.”

And he adds that the proposals lack the ambition required to reduce the European transport sector’s emissions by 60 per cent in 2050 compared to 1990 levels. “This is a serious problem, as any solution to limit global warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, requires sharp emission reductions in the transport sector. With clean technologies for aviation and maritime transport only emerging slowly and being relatively expensive, road transport will have to deliver the major part of these emission reductions, at least in the short to medium term.”

Hader says that for many EU Member States, the low level of ambition in the European Commission’s proposal might prove to be a serious a problem.

“The emission reductions from cars and vans constitute an important contribution to their national Effort Sharing Regulation targets. These national targets legally oblige Member States to reduce emissions from those sectors not falling under the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, the EU ETS, including transport, agriculture and building sectors.

“Road transport has significant potential to reduce emissions, usually at lower costs than other sectors like agriculture and buildings. Having vehicle manufacturers produce less emitting vehicles is also one of the cheapest options for Member States to reach their emission reduction goals.”

This article is an extract from a longer exclusive interview that will appear in PEi magazine later this month. Subscribe now to be sure of receiving your issue.

Emobility is a key topic of the conference programme at Electrify Europe in Vienna in June. For more details click here.