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CO₂ emission targets: VW faces new challenges

STEFAN MENZEL | HANDELSBLATT | 7 JULY 2016

Read the article in German

Thomas Goettle, PA automotive expert, is quoted in an article in Handelsblatt discussing how German carmakers are struggling to meet the EU’s emissions limits within the next five years – due to be implemented in 2021.

The EU is planning to fine manufacturers €95 for every gram of CO₂ above the company-specific target and a new report by PA reveals that, based on current sales forecasts, BMW needs to budget for around €100 million in penalty payments; and VW around €1 billion. 

Every year, PA ranks the top carmakers in Europe according to their performance against the EU’s CO₂ emission targets. Thomas says: "VW’s latest results are due to the company's low take-up of its hybrid and electric offering (0.1% and 0.2% of sales respectively)" - too low for meeting the targets in five years' time. While more environmentally friendly engines will hit the market during the next decade, "the electric powertrain will reach same sales volume as diesel - but not before 2030", Thomas explains.

BMW’s latest results are due to the company's high sales for its heavy SUVs and the low take-up of its hybrid and electric offering. Daimler is showing that the investments in reducing weight on new models and downsizing motors in the new C class have had a noticeable effect. The sales success of Daimler’s smaller A class and the Smart have also contributed to this progress. What is more, the Mercedes-maker is ahead of other German manufacturers when it comes to putting cars with alternative motor technology on the road. 

The CO2 Emissions Challenge Report

The CO₂ emissions challenge: how can carmakers meet the 2021 targets for CO₂ emissions?

Download report

The rankings also reveal differences in the strategies being pursued by manufacturers to avoid fines. Toyota is placing an even bigger emphasis on hybrid technology, while German carmakers have been concentrating on optimising diesel and petrol motors. And for achieving the 2021 emission targets, diesel still is a necessary option - due to 15% lower fuel consumption and lower CO₂ emissions. Thomas says: "Within the next five years diesel remains without an alternative - in Germany at least."

However, this also faces the caveat of the current New European Driving Cycle, which is the basis for the carbon targets and is accused of not accurately reflecting real-world driving styles – therefore giving unrealistic consumption and emissions readings. The new World Harmonised Light Duty Vehicles Test Procedure would offer more accurate data and this extension to the legislative framework will also minimise the current loopholes. Thomas says: “If this test cycle is implemented in 2017, not a single manufacturer will reach its specific CO₂ target by 2020/2021.”

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