White paper

CO2 reduction technologies for the European car and van fleet: A 2025-2030 assessment

This paper describes the methodology behind and the results obtained by a study to develop CO2 cost curves for the European passenger car and light commercial vehicle fleets in 2025–2030, and to estimate compliance costs for a series of potential vehicle CO2 emission or fuel-efficiency standards.

The primary CO2 and associated technology cost data used in the development of the cost curves are from simulation modeling and bottom-up cost estimation work performed for the ICCT by the engineering consultancy FEV. Detailed results of FEV’s analysis can be found here.

The FEV data are combined with supplemental data to generate CO2 cost curves for ten EU vehicle classes (diesel B, C, D, E, SUV, and LCV classes and gasoline B, C, D, and E classes). These individual class curves are then sales weighted to estimate fleet average compliance costs for a range of potential CO2 standards.

The study uses a 2014 baseline, reflecting the 2014 average EU vehicle market situation as closely as possible in terms of vehicle segment and technology market shares, and assumes that the split between vehicle segments and also vehicle driving performance characteristics within each segment would remain constant between 2014 and 2030, to exclude the impact of any potential shift in consumer preferences over time.

Vehicle technologies covered include direct injection, single-stage and two-stage turbocharging combined with engine downsizing, variable valve-lift and timing, cam-profile switching, exhaust-gas recirculation, cooled exhaust-gas recirculation, two-stage and fully variable compression ratio, Miller/Atkinson Cycle, low-friction design, 12-volt start-stop technology, 48-volt belt starter-generator, full-parallel P2 hybrid, 7-speed and 10-speed dual-clutch transmissions, vehicle mass reduction up to a maximum of 20%, 35% rolling-resistance reduction, 20% aerodynamic drag reduction, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel-cell electric vehicles.

The study concludes that the range of combustion-engine technologies is sufficient to reduce the fleet average CO2 emissions in 2025 to meet a target of 70 g/km (measured on the NEDC) with few or possibly no electric vehicle sales and at an average per-vehicle cost increment between €1,000 and €2,150, compared to the 2014 baseline. A passenger car standard of 40 g/km could be achieved by 2030 at an average per-vehicle cost increment of between €1,600 and €3,000. Reaching that target would require that electric vehicles make up a large share of new-vehicle sales.

The study also found that if manufacturers pursued a least-cost technology strategy of switching to electric vehicles earlier, rather than seeking first to exhaust the potential of combustion-engine technologies, it would reduce the compliance costs of a 70 g/km CO2 emissions target in 2025 by €200 to €500 per vehicle.

With respect to light-commercial vehicles, CO2 standards as low as 90–100 g/km (NEDC) can be achieved with few or no electric vehicles in the new-vehicle market. A CO2 target of 110 g/km in 2025 will lead to an average cost increment of €1,000 to €3,000 per vehicle, while a 90 g/km standard in 2025 will cost on average between €2,500 and €4,000 per vehicle. Costs would be €250 to €1,000 lower when pursuing a least-cost technology pathway and transitioning to electric vehicles earlier.

For a brief but comprehensive summary of the findings this study, placing it in context of the European Union’s 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, see here.