Car manufacturers will receive CO2 emissions credits if their new cars are fitted with approved ‘eco-innovations’ under legislation adopted by the European Commission on 25 July.

The credits, for innovations that reduce carbon emissions, will be usable within the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Brussels hopes that the move will nudge the automobile industry towards meeting the Union’s goal of limiting CO2 emissions from new cars to an average of 130 grams/km by 2015, around one fifth below 2007 levels.

New green technologies could count for up to 7g CO2/km of that target.

An ‘eco-innovation’ is defined as any technology that is new to the market, contributes to “significant CO2 savings”, and has not already been taken into account in determining a vehicle’s emissions.

Listed technologies include improved vehicle propulsion, or enhanced energy consumption of mandatory devices.

Solar panels that convert sunlight into electric energy could potentially qualify, but an energy-efficient in-car music system would not.

The new regulations will be gradually phased in from 2012 when 65% of each manufacturer’s newly registered cars must comply, rising to 75% in 2013, 80% in 2014 and 100% by 2015.

From 2012, car manufacturers whose fleet average exceeds the limit will be penalised for each car registered.

Detailed technical guidelines on how to prepare applications for the eco-innovation recognition process will follow in due course.

But for now, the European Commission will assess applications from car manufacturers and components suppliers to decide which generic eco-innovations to improve.

Actual CO2 savings will be certified as part of the vehicle-type approval procedure.

Source: Euractiv