Policy update

European CO2 emission performance standards for light commercial vehicles

On February 15, 2011 the European Parliament adopted legislation that, for the first time, will regulate CO2 emissions from light commercial vehicles (LCV) in Europe. The original legislative proposal was issued by the European Commission in October 2009 and since then has been debated between the regulatory agencies in Europe. It is expected to formally become law in the first half of 2011.

Key elements of the European regulation

  • The regulation applies to new motor vehicles of category N1, i.e., vehicles designed and constructed for the carriage of goods having a gross vehicle weight of less than 3,500 kg (7,716 lb) and a reference mass of less than 2,610 kg (5,754 lb). M2 and N2 vehicles at this point in time will be included for monitoring purposes only. For vehicles of category M1 (passenger vehicles with less than 9 seats) a similar regulation was already adopted in 2009. N1 vehicles in Europe account for approximately 10% of all light-duty vehicles.
  • The short-term target set by the regulation is to reach an average CO2 emission level of 175 g/km for new light commercial vehicles by 2017 compared to an average emission level of approximately 185 g/km in 2009. For each manufacturer an individual target will be calculated based on the average weight of the manufacturer’s vehicle fleet. It is therefore possible for manufacturers to balance higher emissions of some of their models with lower emissions for other vehicles. Additionally, manufacturers are allowed to pool with each other in order to meet the targets. The short-term target will be phased in, with 70% of each manufacturer’s LCV to be taken into account in 2014, 75% in 2015, 80% in 2016 and 100% from 2017 onwards.
  • Manufacturers failing to meet the emissions target will be required to pay an excess emission premium of €5 for the first g/km of excess emissions, €15 for the second g/km, €25 for the third g/km and €95 for any additional g/km of excess emissions.
  • From 2014-2017 super-credits for new LCV with CO2 emissions of less than 50 g/km will be in place in order to stimulate sales of low emission vehicles. These vehicles will be counted 3.5 times for the calculation of manufacturers’ fleet averages in 2014 and 2015, 2.5 times in 2016, 1.5 times in 2017, and 1.0 times from 2018 on. The maximum number of new LCV with less than 50 g/km CO2 to be taken into account in the application of the multipliers is limited to 25,000 per manufacturer.
  • The CO2 emissions of each LCV that is capable of running on a mixture of petrol with 85% bioethanol (E85) will be reduced by 5% for calculating manufacturers’ fleet averages by end of 2015.
  • Up to 7 g/km CO2 credits per manufacturer may be obtained by applying innovative technologies (eco-innovations) that contribute to CO2 emission reduction efforts but cannot demonstrate their full potential on the current NEDC test procedure.
  • Manufacturers with less than 22,000 LCVs registered in the European Union (EU) per year can apply for individual emission targets (derogation rules).
  • CO2 emissions of multi-stage vehicles, i.e. vehicles with a body retrospectively added not by the manufacturer of the base vehicle, will be generally allocated to the manufacturer of the base vehicle. A review with respect to specific monitoring procedures and necessary amendments to the relevant type-approval legislation in order to not place excessive burden on the manufacturer of the baseline vehicle will be carried out by end of 2011.
  • The long-term CO2 emission target for LCV is set at 147 g/km in 2020. It is subject to confirmation of feasibility to be carried out in a review by January 1, 2013. This review will also evaluate the inclusion of N2 and M2 vehicles in a future regulation as well as the potential use of footprint or payload as basis for the calculation of emission targets instead of vehicle weight.
  • Compared to the original proposal of the European Commission, the now adopted version of the legislation includes a less-stringent long-term target (147 g/km instead of 135 g/km). The 2020 target year was not changed as well as the short-term target of 175 g/km. However, the end of the phase-in of the short-term target was delayed by one year (now 2017 instead of 2016). The excess emission premium was lowered from the originally proposed €120 per g/km to €95. Furthermore, the multipliers for low emission vehicles (super-credits) were increased and extended compared to the original proposal.