ACEA ‘open to higher CO2 targets if infrastructure ramps up’
European carmakers say that they are open to stricter CO2 standards the EU is preparing for June 2021. That is, if this is linked to binding commitments of the member states to ramp up infrastructures for EV charging stations and hydrogen filling stations. And with no stricter standards for 2025 and keeping open possibilities for alternative fuels during the transition period.
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) in its position paper, there will be needed 60 million EV charging points of which three million public ones, to reach the EU’s goal to cut back CO2 emissions by 37,5%.
Today there are some 225 000 public EV charging stations operational. For road transport to make the switch to clean hydrogen, there should be enough production capacity and at least 1 000 filling stations.
“Our industry’s huge investments in alternatively-powered vehicles are paying off. Indeed, last year nearly one in 10 cars registered in the EU was electrically chargeable. But this trend can only be sustained if governments start making matching investments in infrastructure,” ACEA President and CEO of BMW Oliver Zipse states in a press release.
All available drivetrain technologies
“We need to utilize all available drivetrain technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of our vehicle fleet. For the uptake of electric vehicles, a simple logic applies: the number of charging points and hydrogen stations that EU member states actually commit to deploy under AFID will determine what a realistic CO2 target for 2030 is.”
AFID is the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive. The Directive of 2014 that is currently under review contains a package of measures for the deployment of alternative fuels and infrastructure in the EU.
By ‘alternative fuels’ the Directive means fuels or power sources that serve as a substitute for fossil oil and include electricity, hydrogen, biofuels, synthetic and paraffinic fuels, natural gas both as compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied (LNG), and also liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Investing €60 billion
“As an industry, we are driving the ramp-up of clean mobility by offering a wide range of attractive passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, technologies, and services,” ACEA states.
“The EU auto industry will invest more than €60 billion in these technologies over the next few years. In addition, we need European battery and hydrogen production facilities as well as appropriate charging and refueling infrastructure to enable this steep ramp-up in clean mobility.”
ACEA warns that the EU’s 2025 ambition level must remain the same as that fixed in the current CO2 Regulation. The CO2 Regulation for cars and vans is foreseen for June 2021 but is expected to become finalized in late 2022 or even later.
As the development of new cars takes years, “it is simply not possible to change any technical parameters of vehicles this late if those vehicles have to be ready for the market in 2025,” ACEA says.
Phasing out the combustion engine
The carmakers’ biggest fear is that the coming Euro 7 emission standard would result in the combustion engine being phased out from 2025 onward. Earlier, Hildegard Müller, President of the German car manufacturers federation VDA, said she fears that if the exhaust emission limits are too strict, combustion engines will no longer be competitive.
“The Commission wants to stipulate that in the future, a vehicle must remain virtually emission-free in every driving situation – be it with a trailer on a mountain or in slow city traffic,” says Müller. “That is technically impossible, and everyone knows that.”
Müller indicated that a switch to battery-electric mobility in the near future is not feasible. She repeated the widespread criticism of the lack of charging infrastructure and calls for investment in e-fuels and the fuel cell: “The problem is not the combustion engine, but the fuel.”