Volume IX, 3-2010
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New Power for European Transport

New Power for European Transport

From left: Fabien Hillairet, ČEZ group, Oldřich Vlasák, Member of European Parliament, Simon Godwin, EURCAR/ACEA.

The EU reduction targets for CO2 emissions set for 2012 and 2020 are putting the automotive sector under constant pressure. These targets have already been set for Passenger Vehicles and are now being discussed for Light Commercial Vehicles.

This initiative comes in a period when the automotive sector, a major industry sector and employer in the EU, is being hit very hard by the economic crisis. It is clear that there are limits to the level of regulation the sector can cope with, therefore new technologies must be developed. Where is the potential for further CO2 emissions reduction? An answer can be partially provided by electric vehicles. Numerous projects on electric transport in Europe are already in progress and by 2030 the majority of new vehicles produced could be electric. However, the development must be coordinated at all levels. Participants of CEBRE business breakfast held on 27th April 2010 in the light of the Commission’s draft European Strategy on Clean and Energy Efficient Vehicles agreed that cooperation on common guidelines and standards in electrification of transport is necessary as well as support of R&D investment and financial incentives.

Significant CO2 emissions reduction in the automotive sector has already been achieved and now the debate has focused on Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) that represent 12% of cars on the road. The European Commission proposes to reduce CO2 emissions from LCVs to 175g CO2/km by 2014 and 135g CO2/km by 2020. “I believe that together with my colleagues from the European Parliament we will find a solution that will not destroy the automotive industry“, said Oldřich VLASÁK, the MEP responsible for TRAN opinion on the proposal for a regulation on setting emissions performance standards for new LCVs. “I propose to postpone the coming into force of the regulation by three years and softening the 2020 target from 135g CO2/km to 162 CO2/km”, he added.

The automotive sector is the largest private investor in R&D in Europe. It has been leading and participating in many projects on clean, efficient propulsion technologies for all vehicles. For electric vehicles, numerous technologies can be used. “To change the mind of consumers and ensure continuous research, the support of public administration and politicians is needed”, said Simon GODWIN, Director of EUCAR – European Council for Automotive R&D.

The crisis and the economic measures taken have reduced the size of cars and engines. The automotive industry is undergoing a considerable transformation. “The demand for new technical solutions and global competitiveness require higher and more specific skills. To avoid future misalignments, the cooperation at regional, national, European (infrastructure, research and standardization) and international level (coordination of infrastructure and use of raw materials) is necessary,” stressed Lars HOLMQUIST, CEO of the CLEPA - European Association of Automotive Suppliers.

Expert on renewable energy and sustainable development at the ČEZ Group, Fabien HILL AIRET, echoed the previous speakers on the need to cooperate at different levels. “In Europe, there have been 30 projects on electric mobility on board since 2007. We have to avoid the use of different methods of charging. Unlike cell phone, cars need standardised chargers!” CEBRE will continue with the discussion at high-level workshop during the CoR Open Days in Brussels on 6th October, 2010.

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