The International Road Transport Union (IRU) has welcomed the European Unions proposals on CO2 standards for trucks, which it says strikes a realistic tone on the proposed target levels.
he IRU says the Council has taken a sensible approach in confirming the EC’s proposed target of 15% and in safeguarding that the 2030 target can be revised in the 2022 revision. Setting the target before knowing which technologies can meet this ambition is unrealistic.
In addition, the 30% currently proposed for 2030 would only be reachable by using a Well-to-Wheel (WTW) approach that takes into account the role of advanced renewable and synthetic liquid and gaseous fuels used in internal combustion engines. The IRU is calling on policy-makers to ensure that moving to this methodology will be assessed in the 2022 revision.
Based on current technology projection, meeting a 35% reduction, as proposed by the European Parliament for 2030, would require a wide-scale shift to electrification, which will not be market ready for long-haul operations. Therefore, meeting such a target, or an eventual benchmark for the post-2025 timeline, could see a shift of investment to smaller and less efficient vehicles ultimately creating greater congestion and more CO2 emissions.
Matthias Maedge, who leads IRU’s work in the EU, said: “Decision-makers must bear in mind that given the tight margins facing the sector, the pace of decarbonisation will not be determined by the availability of technology, but by the purchasing power of transport operators, which may prevent them from investing in some of these new technologies. CNG, LNG and hydrogen will play an important role in the future while the energy storage capacity, weight and the price of batteries remain an obstacle for commercial road transport. Therefore standards must ultimately be based on technological feasibility but also on commercial viability”.
The Council proposal to guarantee the European Commission has access to real-world data will be important to ensure the trend of real-world emissions matches that shown in VECTO. However, IRU has concerns as to how this sensitive business data will be collected and what administrative and cost burden this will have on transport operators.
In the trilogue discussions to follow, IRU calls on decision-makers to adopt a realistic level of ambition, taking into account the role of renewable and synthetic fuels, that will tangibly help the sector to make the needed CO2 emissions reductions.