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Car makers race to meet EU 2020/1 CO₂ targets by increasing EV sales

Mon 12 October 2020 | Back to news list

New analysis by Brussels-based NGO T&E says that auto manufacturers are on course to meet EU regulated 2020/21 new car CO₂ emissions targets, through a combination of strategies including increasing sales of EVs, improving ICE vehicles' emissions performance and 'pooling' emissions with other companies who have exceeded the target. In related news, T&E says that Brexit poses a threat to the supply of EVs to the UK in 2021.

After several years of increasing car CO₂ emissions and sales of larger/heavier vehicles, T&E says that as the long awaited 2020/21 EU car CO₂ standard entered into force in January this year, emissions of new cars sold dropped suddenly. 

The report shows that PSA Group, Volvo, BMW Group and the combined Tesla/Fiat Chrysler group are already complying with the EU’s target for average emissions of new cars, based on their sales in the first half of 2020. The analysis shows that Renault, Nissan, the Toyota-Mazda pool and Ford have a small gap to close of two grams of CO₂ per km. T&E says that the sales of the Renault Zoe alone in 2020 will knock off 15g of CO₂ to help ensure Renault complies. 

The report says that the report also shows that electric cars will treble their market share in Europe this year as a result of the targets. The environment group says it shows that ambitious CO₂ standards work but fears there's a risk EV momentum will run out of steam after 2021 due to 'lax EU targets for 2025 and 2030'.

T&E says we may expect to see EV sales at only 20% four years later if the current CO₂ regulation is not revised. It points out that Norway shows how fast the EV market can grow: from 6% of sales in 2013 to almost 50% five years later, in 2018.

The report says that while they are further away, the Volkswagen Group (5g), Hyundai-Kia (7g-3g), Daimler (9g) and Jaguar-Land Rover (13g) should cross the line either through their compliance strategies of selling more plug-in vehicles, by pooling emissions with other companies, or both. 

Julia Poliscanova of T&E said: “The only way to kill off highly-polluting vehicles is to give carmakers a clear end date now. Cars that run on biofuels, fake electric engines or fossil gas emit CO₂ and shouldn’t be allowed on the market after 2035.”

In related news, T&E says that there may be a threat to the supply of electric vehicles to the UK next year because of Brexit. 

Despite the Covid pandemic, EV sales have surged in the UK and across Europe this year. However, T&E warns that the supply of electric cars to the UK is likely to run out next year due to the absence of British regulations equivalent to those in Europe.  

Carmakers must meet targets to reduce the average emissions of the cars they sell in Europe, but from 2021, UK sales of EVs will not help manufacturers achieve EU standards. 

T&E says that its analysis shows that the current draft regulations contain errors that will lead to about a fifth less EVs being sold in the UK than was likely if it had remained a part of the EU. The group says that new regulations needed to be introduced by the end of October to be in place by January in order to maintain supplies of electric cars to the UK. 

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