Europe's CO2 reduction race: Carmakers on track to hit fuel efficiency targets

Five out of seven European car manufacturers will reach the EU's carbon emissions objectives by the 2021 deadline if they progress at the same rate since the law was introduced in 2008.

Most carmakers are on track hit CO2 targets, irrespective of the size and type of vehicle they sell

Most carmakers are on track hit CO2 targets, irrespective of the size and type of vehicle they sell

That's according to the 2014 Cars and CO2 report released today by Transport & Environment (T&E), which monitors the annual progress made by vehicle manufacturers to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of new cars.

Volvo, Toyota, Peugeot-Citroen, Renault, Ford and Daimler will all hit their targets early, while VW and Nissan are on schedule. (Scroll down for report).

On the other hand, Fiat would miss its CO2 reduction target by one year (2022) on current trajectory, while BMW would be three years behind schedule (2024). Last year, Renault displaced Fiat as the manufacturer of the lowest-carbon, most fuel-efficient vehicles. Volvo reduced the emissions of its fleet by 8% - the biggest annual reduction recorded in 2013.

"The report shows that most European carmakers are well positioned to hit their CO2 targets, irrespective of the size and type of vehicle they sell," said T&E's clean vehicles manager Greg Archer. "Industry claims to the contrary have just been scaremongering. But some carmakers are beginning to lag behind and must raise their game to hit their targets.

"In 2013, all European manufacturers achieved their 2015 targets at least two years ahead of schedule. These achievements contrast with carmakers' claims at the time the law was being negotiated that a vehicle-related target of 130 grams CO2/km, as proposed by the Commission, is not feasible."

The findings contradict claims by the industry that premium car brands need more time to meet the target. But this analysis does not include the fact that carmakers can use flexibilities in the law which make compliance easier, such as 'supercredits' for the amount of electric vehicles they will sell in 2021.

Infographic: The CO2 race

Cars are currently responsible for 15% of Europe's total CO2 emissions and are the single largest source of emissions in the transport sector.

The EU's first obligatory rules on carbon emissions require car manufacturers to limit their average car to a maximum of 130 grams of CO2 per km by 2015, and 95g by 2021. In April, the EU's climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard told the European Parliament it would consult on a 2025 target in May 2014, but this consultation has not yet happened.

"With most carmakers making good progress towards 2021 goals, the European Commission needs to consult on 2025 targets as it promised Members of the European Parliament it would," added Archer.

Infographic: Making progress

The report goes on to reveal that several Asian carmakers will have to increase their rate of progress to avoid exceeding their targets by several years. Suzuki (2023); Hyundai and Mazda (2025); and Honda (2027; have all just announced a collaboration to improve the efficiency of their engines by 30% by 2020.

Earlier this month, edie reported that Honda had launched its own water brand to demonstrate the purity of emissions released from its FCX car range, which utilises hydrogen fuel technology. 

Read a full briefing of the report - Carmakers CO2 Emissions in 2013 - below.

Luke Nicholls


| CO2 | consultation | electric vehicles | transport


Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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