Page 10 - European Energy Innovation - Winter 2015 publication
P. 10
Winter 2015 European Energy Innovation


Automotive industry needs a
nudge in transitioning to electric cars

Zero-emission vehicles are EU’s fastest option for reducing CO2 emissions

AMSTERDAM – If the EU wants to achieve its climate goals, all newly sold passenger vehicles need to be
electric from 2035 on. The fastest track to achieving zero emissions is to impose stringent, tradable CeOve2n
standards in the years leading to 2035, supplemented if needed by CO2 bonuses (super credits) or a
quota system for manufacturers.

,bn 2050, the European transport sector has to production of electric cars even more, Brussels could
emit 60% less CO2. Since heavier trucks, aircraft, offer manufacturers CO2 bonuses – known as super
ships and trains will still partially use fossil fuels, credits. “For example, each ZEV could count towards
passenger cars will need to be CO2¬ emission total average emissions with a weighted factor of 1.5.
free by that year. This means that zero-emission 7KDWPDNHVSURGXFWLRQƓQDQFLDOO\PRUHDSSHDOLQJ
vehicles (ZEVs) will have to replace the current cars even though safeguards would have to be built in to
that have combustion engines. ZEVs are (generally prevent abuse,” Usmani and Londo state.
electric) cars that run on a battery and/or fuel cell
and do not emit CO2 themselves. In order to achieve The limit for CO2 emissions could also be made
a full replacement of combustion engine cars by tradable. “That encourages specialisation in the
ZEVs by 2050, all newly sold cars will need to be market, where manufacturers that are good at it
ZEVs by 2035, because cars stay on the road for can make ZEVs and other manufacturers can focus
about 15 years after their initial purchase. on making cleaner cars with a better combustion
engine,” the researchers say.
“If we take the zero-emissions objective seriously,
ZEVs are the best option. In that case, the EU will Another policy measure is imposing quotas, which
have to keep imposing stringent standards on CO2 make it compulsory for every manufacturer to
emissions from passenger vehicles after 2021,” produce a certain number of electric cars. ECN sees
conclude Omar Usmani and Marc Londo from the this as a way to promote mass production and bring
Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), down the price of ZEVs. These quotas could also be
who were asked by the Netherlands Ministry of tradable.
Infrastructure and the Environment to evaluate the
situation. According to them, the EU should not incorporate
CO2 emissions from passenger transport into the
Test emissions per vehicle have already dropped current ETS system. The CO2 price in ETS is so low
sharply in recent years. In 2015, new cars are subject that the measure would not provide a strong enough
to a limit of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre driven. incentive to switch to ZEVs.
In 2021, this limit will drop to 95 grams per kilometre.
There are currently two options on the table for Waiting for country-based incentives from the
2025: 68 or 78 grams per kilometre. In order to reach national climate objectives (ESD) is similarly fruitless.
zero grams per kilometre in 2035, it would be more “There is a risk that the transport sector would
logical to introduce the lower limit, according to make less efforts if other sectors, like housing
ECN’s estimates. or agriculture, were able to save more CO2,” the
researchers explain. O
More stringent standards for CO2 emissions per
kilometre driven allow electric cars to better Contact details:
compete with cars that have a combustion engine. In ECN
the long run, it will become impossible for traditional T: +31 88 515 4949
cars to comply with the CO2 requirements and P.O. Box 1, NL-1755 ZG Petten
manufacturers will be forced to switch to ZEVs. Westerduinweg 3, 1755 ZG Petten
to millions of euros if the average emissions from the
cars they sell exceed the EU limit. To promote the
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