Carmakers race ahead of EU emissions targets

Almost all car manufacturers have met European carbon emission reduction targets 'several years ahead of their deadlines', and the uptake of electric vehicles is continuing to increase rapidly.

That’s according to new data from the European Environment Agency (EEA), which reveals the average passenger car sold in 2013 emitted 126.7 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger kilometre (g/km) – already well below the EU limit of 130g/km set for 2015.

Of the 84 car manufacturers in Europe, 55 met their individual specific emissions targets in 2013, representing 99 % of all registrations. New cars sold last year were, on average, 14% more efficient than those sold in 2010.

The EEA report also paints a positive picture of the electric vehicle market, with registrations increasing rapidly. The number of purely electric cars in the EU increased from approximately 700 in 2010 to more than 25,000 in 2013. Plug-in hybrid numbers have also risen exponentially over recent years.

Of the individual carmakers, Renault had the lowest average CO2 emissions – with an average of 110g /km for new passenger vehicles registered in 2013. The French firm was followed by Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen who all continue to produce the majority of the lowest-emitting cars.

At the other end of the scale, Jaguar-Land Rover was the most-polluting vehicle manufacturer listed in the report with an average of 164g/km. Daimler is second-from-bottom on the list with an average of 137g/km.

But Daimler is actually one of the carmakers that looks set to reach the EU’s 2021 carbon emissions target – of 95g/km – if it progresses at the same rate since the law was introduced in 2008. According to a report from Transport & Environment earlier this year, the Mercedes-Benz manufacturer joins Volvo, Toyota, Peugeot-Citroen, Renault and Ford as the carmakers that will hit the target early, while VW and Nissan are on schedule for the 2021 deadline.

GRAPH: CO2 emissions by carmaker

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.

In related low-carbon vehicle news this week, the UK’s Transport Minister Baroness Kramer paid a visit to Wiltshire, where the Council is installing rapid chargepoints across the county.

VIDEO: Baroness Kramer on electric vehicles

“More and more people are switching to plug-in vehicles, with more than 5,000 sold in the past three months,” said Kramer. “We need the right infrastructure to keep building that momentum.”

With driving costs are as low as 2p per mile, there has been a steady rise in the number of people taking up low emission vehicles, as more models become available and the nationwide network of charging points continues to expand.

REPORT: Monitoring CO2 emissions

Luke Nicholls

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