T&E: ‘Most carmakers on track to meet EU CO2 target’
Thanks to electric car sales taking off, but also by using the ‘regulatory flexibilities’ such as pooling, most carmakers are on track to meet the CO2 target of 95 g/km set by the EU by the end of the year. NGO Transport and Environment (T&E) comes to that conclusion after a new analysis over the first half of this year.
‘Most carmakers’, that excludes Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Daimler, which still have to bridge a gap of 13 g/km and 9 g/km, respectively. They are in danger of paying heavy fines unless they partner with the better pupils in the class who already overshot their target, like PSA, Volvo, Tesla-FCA, or BMW.
Routed by the doom scenario of monster fines by the EU, if CO2 targets for their entire fleet of new cars sold aren’t met, most carmakers speeded up the launch of electric models.
EV sales up to 15% in 2021
Sales of all-electric cars combined – battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) – nearly tripled compared to the year before to a market share of 8% in the European Economic Area (EEA), but could reach 10% by the end of the year. In 2021, EV sales could reach 15%, growing from one million this year to 1,8 million next year.
This was particularly the case for Volvo (23% of its sales), BMW (13%), Hyundai-Kia (11%), and Renault (8%). In some cases, like Volvo, that’s entirely due to PHEV sales, others like Renault, for instance, merely due to its full-electric ZOE, being a bestseller. The latter alone means for Renault a 15 g/km gain to reach its target.
Dropped to 111 g/km
The spectacular rise in EV sales makes that the average CO2 emissions of all brands together dropped from 122 g/km in 2019 to 111 g/km, the largest drop since the standards came into effect in 2008, says T&E.
That’s still far from the 95 g/km set. But half of the gap – more than 13 g/km – to reach the 2020 target will be bridged by ‘regulatory flexibilities’. These are super credits like counting BEVs and PHEV double, the 95% phase-in, which allows excluding the 5% most emitting cars, mass adjustment, and credits for eco-innovations.
According to T&E’s analysis, PSA, Volvo, BMW, and Tesla-FCA have achieved their 2020 targets already by July 1st. For FCA, this is entirely due to ‘buying’ credits from Tesla for some two billion euros to mask a gap that otherwise would be 17 g/km. Mazda did the same on a far smaller scale with Toyota.
Others are very close to meet the targets by the end of the year: Renault, Nissan, Toyota-Mazda, and Ford have a mere 2 g/km gap left to close, being 1 to 2% only. Volkswagen Group sits in the middle with 5 g/km but awaits the effect of its ID3, and Hyundai-Kia has 7 g/km to bridge. But the latter has quite an electric model range to offer.
Daimler and JLR trailing
Daimler, which is still selling many high-performance premium cars and heavy SUVs, sits in the danger-zone with 9 g/km. But it just announced further speeding up the roll-out of its electric models. It could, as some suggest, find some help via Geely, which is a Daimler shareholder and owns Volvo, which still has 5 to 6 g/km surplus to share.
That might also be a way out for JLR that is limping behind with 13 g/km, despite its effort with PHEV versions of its bestsellers and the full-electric i-Pace. But the clock is ticking.
The fact that most carmakers will reach the EU-targets might sound positive, but there is also a shadow side to it, T&E fears. “Today’s standards are ‘the modern-day example for an excellent industrial policy that pushes the car industry to invest in and supply future-proof zero-emission technologies in Europe.”
But without more stringent standards in the future, the drive to do that might make the EV market to stagnate in the near future instead of taking an ‘uptake curve’ and a developing EV mass market.
“Despite the impressive electric car sales observed this year, the figures mask successive failures to cut vehicle CO2 emissions over the past few years,” T&E writes in its report.
It refers to the ‘SUV addiction’ with the general public, with its share rising to 39% of car sales while most of them push up the CO2 emissions. According to T&E, there is the problem of the ‘fake plug-in hybrids’ with half of them never being charged and thus emitting two to four timers more CO2 in the real world than the lab-tests show.