Critically, the proposed agreement provides for the continued use of super-credits within the emissions measurement formula for green vehicles such as EVs and hybrids. These can bring down the average CO2 emissions level assessed for auto makers.
German auto makers pushed for super-credits to avoid meeting upcoming CO2 emissions target.
The European Union’s new agreement reached Tuesday would allow the government to introduce a 95 g/km of carbon-dioxide emissions target by 2020 for new light vehicles sold in the EU.
The deal still must be officially ratified by all member states.
Representatives from the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers thrashed out proposed solutions to remaining disagreements about how these emissions will be assessed, long-term targets and special exemptions for auto makers producing ultra-low-emissions vehicles.
The text will be delivered Thursday to a committee of high-ranking EU diplomats representing the 27 member states and, assuming it is approved, then will be sent to the parliament and council for final votes.
“This is an important milestone in the negotiations,” says Ivan Hodac, secretary general for the ACEA, the EU’s automobile industry association.
Critically, the agreement provides for the continued use of “super-credits” within the emissions measurement formula for green vehicles such as hybrids and electric cars. These can bring down the average CO2 emissions level assessed for manufacturers.
Under the system, each auto maker is given its own target based on its previous CO2 emissions performance, with the aim of guaranteeing an industry wide 95 g/m average by the 2020 deadline.
The European Commission, the EU’s legal arm, has been fighting to limit the super-credits, arguing they would allow auto makers making green cars to avoid reducing emissions on their standard internal-combustion-engine models.
The German government, for example, has been seeking to maximize the impact of the super-credits, with its industry making both low-emissions cars and higher-CO2 luxury ICE-powered vehicles.
The new deal allows for a so-called “multiplier’ system, where the value of the super-credits in carbon assessments will be doubled in 2020, but steadily reduced until 2023, when they will have a standard value. The emissions threshold for a model attracting a super-credit has been set at 50 g/km.
“It is in everyone’s interest to get clean vehicles on the roads, and super-credits are the only EU-wide incentive to help put on the market today the technologies of the future,” Hodac says.
The EC also has been looking to secure a post-2020 target to indicate to auto makers what emissions caps will be required in 2025, and the new agreement says such a future target should be developed.
However, the deal does not set a target, a point not lost on Hodac: “Today, Europe’s auto industry delivers vehicles with the highest environmental standards in the world. However, it is only reasonable to first conduct proper impact assessments before fixing targets for beyond 2020 to ensure that such targets can be both ambitious and feasible.”
Regarding the vehicle test cycle, MEPs and ministers agree the EU will abandon the current New European Driving Cycle system and adopt a new Worldwide Harmonized Light-duty Test Procedures at the earliest opportunity.
The new deal was brokered by the Irish government, which currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency. Its environment minister Phil Hogan says the agreement “strikes an appropriate balance between environmental ambition and economic considerations.”
He characterizes it as “a win-win for the climate, consumers, innovation and jobs and provides another important step towards a competitive, low-carbon economy.”