As Hyundai announced plans to build a 700.000 fuel cell production plant and Toyota will stop selling diesel cars in Europe, the EU Parliament, Commission and Council on December 17, 2018  have reached a compromise on CO2 emissions rules for cars and vans, setting targets for the years 2025 and 2030. Vehicle emissions in the EU will have to decrease by 37.5% in the case of cars (previous Council’s position – 35%, Parliament’s position – 40%) and by 31% in case of vans by 2030 (previous Council’s position -30% by 2030, Parliament’s position – 40%). A mid-term target of 15 per cent by 2025 for both was also agreed. Furthermore, the negotiators agreed to have limited incentives for the zero- and low-emission vehicles (ZLEV) and countries with low  ZLEV sales will have a bonus multiplier of 0.7 increase for ZLEV uptake in their countries.  Moreover, manufacturers will not face a penalty when they do not reach ZLEV targets.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) in their statement claims that the reduction of emissions for 37.5% and 31% is unrealistic and that these targets are driven by political motives, without taking technological and socio-economic realities into account. “ACEA’s members are of course committed to further reducing CO2 emissions from their vehicles, but these targets will be extremely demanding on Europe’s auto industry,” stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert. “Indeed, they will require a much stronger market uptake of electric and other alternatively-powered vehicles than is currently proving possible.”

Furthermore, ACEA calls for concrete plans to manage this employment and skills transition since the ambitious targets will have large impacts on jobs across the automotive chain, which employs around 13.3 million Europeans.

On the other side, the European Federation of transport NGOs, Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomes the agreement but warns that the deal is below the target which is needed to achieve the EU’s 2030 climate targets or meet the goals of the Paris agreement, which requires the last car with classic engine to be sold by 2030. Greg Archer, clean vehicles director at T&E, said: “Europe is shifting up a gear in the race to produce zero-emission cars. The new law means by 2030 around a third of new cars will be electric or hydrogen-powered. That’s progress but it’s not fast enough to hit our climate goals.”In particular, T&E criticized the fact that the compromise left out the Parliaments’s proposal for penalizing car-makers if they miss the ZLEV target, the derogation for niche manufacturers, and the double counting of plug-in cars in Central and Eastern Europe.

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) welcomed the deal as overall beneficial to the environment, public health as well as consumers. “Currently, there are only a small number of low-emission cars, such as electric ones, on the market. Today’s decision on CO2 targets for cars should push manufacturers to put more models of these vehicles in their showrooms. This is a good development,” said Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC.

Lastly,  Maroš Šefčovič  tweeted that this agreement is  “credible step in the implementation of the Paris Agreement but also another decisive step in support of the long-term competitiveness of European industry, as this will spur investment into the EU value chain, including batteries and other key technologies”.

Today’s agreement needs to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament which is expected to be on 20th December by the Environment Council and on 10th January 2019 by the Environment Committee.