The European automotive industry is bracing for a tightening of CO2 emissions standards in the EU's "Fit for 55" energy and climate package, which will be released July 14, starting what promises to be an extended and fierce debate among legislators, industry leaders and member nations.
Under an agreement reached in April, negotiators agreed to cut the bloc's overall carbon emissions by 55 percent by 2030, up from the current 40 percent target. Under the European Green Deal package agreed to in December 2019, the EU will reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The new 2030 target will mean stepped-up emissions reductions efforts for nearly every business sector, but the details are yet to be decided on.
For automakers, any tightening of CO2 emissions for passenger cars and vans will mean that the pace of electrification will need to be quickly stepped up. Among the proposals reportedly under discussion in the European Commission are a 60 percent emissions cut by 2030 followed by 100 percent cut by 2035 – meaning it would be practically be impossible to sell internal-combustion engine vehicles by then.
The current light vehicle (passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles) fleet CO2 emissions targets, approved in 2018 after bitter debate, call for a 15 percent reduction in 2025 from the 2021 standard of 95 grams per kilometer and a 37.5 percent cut by 2030. Automakers have been investing heavily in electrification to meet those targets, rolling out dozens of new full-electric and plug-in hybrids since January 2020.
The proposals due on July 14 will be debated by EU member countries and the European Parliament.