Transport & Environment publishes car decarbonisation roadmap to meet EU climate targets

Sat 16 March 2024 View all news

Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment has produced a Road-to-Zero roadmap to secure the EU's climate targets of a -90% CO₂ reduction target across the European economy by 2040.

T&E says that following the roadmap would secure the EU’s climate targets while providing clean and affordable solutions to help all drivers make the transition away from polluting fossil cars.

The current 2023 car CO₂ regulation, including the 2035 internal combustion engine (ICE) phase-out, is the single most important emission reduction measure, as it will reduce emissions by 57% in 2040 compared to 2015.

T&E says that additional measures are needed to phase out the remaining 73 million ICEs with the most effective and affordable options being scrapping old ICEs (and replacing them with battery electric vehicles), followed by e-retrofits of ICEs.

The NGO says that E-fuels are more expensive and inefficient than other options, and as such are not needed to reduce the CO₂ emissions of the existing fleet.

The report's key recommendations are:

  • The EU needs to maintain the 2035 ICE phase-out.
  • The European Commission (EC) is developing a new initiative for the greening of company fleets. The EU needs to set a target of 100% BEV sales in 2030 for corporate cars with an intermediate target of 50% in 2027 in order to achieve a faster ramp-up of BEV sales.
  • Policy solutions need to be specifically targeted at the existing car fleet, in particular e-retrofitting of old ICE cars and conversion schemes for low income households including support for mobility (e.g. public transport, car sharing) or a new or used BEV, while avoiding inefficient and expensive solutions such as e-fuels.
  • The EC should adjust its 2040 strategy and account for conversion schemes and e-retrofits instead of e-fuels for the legacy fleet. To accelerate the phase out of the oldest ICEs, T&E suggests implementing sales or circulation restrictions on used ICEs after a certain age. Then, the European Commission should propose as soon as possible a new EU type-approval regulation for e-retrofitted vehicles.
  • Actions are needed to prevent the growth of car use by limiting new road building, shifting car use to other modes and increasing car occupancy.
Image: Courtesy T&E


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