From 2012, a change in EU environmental regulations will tighten the limit on carbon emissions for manufacturers’ vehicle fleets: by 2015 car makers must achieve an average of 130g CO2/km across their entire new vehicle fleets – this limit will be applied to 65% of the fleet in 2012, to 75% of the fleet in 2013 and to 80% in 2014. By 2020 manufacturers face an ambitious target of 95g CO2/km across all new cars sold.
Although PA Consulting Group’s analysis shows that most car makers will achieve the European carbon emissions reduction targets for 2015, it also indicates that, on today’s development cycles, almost all manufacturers are likely to miss these targets for 2020 – with the risk of penalties of €95 per gram of CO2 above the limit multiplied by the number of cars they sell in 2020.
To meet European carbon emissions reduction targets for 2020 and reduce the risk of incurring penalties, car makers must take action on three fronts:
Optimise engine performance to achieve green compliance
Improving the components that generate power and deliver it to the road surface (the ‘drive train’) lowers fuel consumption and therefore helps car makers make progress on carbon emissions reduction targets. For example, for a VW Golf or similar, improvements to the drive train have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by up to 60%.
Additional measures manufacturers can take to reduce fuel consumption include incorporating a mechanism to automatically disengage the engine when the car is stationary in traffic and using super- or turbo-charged engines to reduce the cylinder capacity required. Innovative technologies still evolving, from cylinder deactivation to electro-mechanical valve control, could also improve performance, reduce emissions and support environmental compliance.
Cut vehicle weight to meet carbon emissions reduction targets
Cars have been becoming heavier for decades. Higher safety standards require rigid car bodies, and features such as air conditioning, power steering and in-car entertainment also add weight. But for every 100kg a vehicle’s weight is reduced, fuel consumption falls by 0.25l/km, delivering a reduction in carbon emissions of approximately 7g CO2/km.
Car makers must use innovative materials such as high-alloy steel, aluminium and carbon fibre in the body shell, chassis and drive train, and in engines, seats and axles, to reduce vehicle weight, cut fuel consumption and achieve carbon emissions reduction targets.
Reshape the vehicle portfolio to ensure environmental compliance
Car makers can further reduce average carbon emissions from the fleet by reshaping their vehicle portfolios to include a higher proportion of smaller cars and engines (downsizing eight cylinders to six and four cylinders to three or even two). Extending the use of alternative drive trains (hybrid or electric vehicles) in their portfolios will help to meet European carbon emissions reduction targets (although the overall carbon balance sheet for EVs remains dependent on the power mix used to charge them).
PA has worked with a number of manufacturers to help prepare their fleets to meet European carbon emissions reduction targets. For example, our work for Magna Steyr to refine the lithium-ion batteries supplied to fleets of commercial vehicles led to reduced carbon emissions and lower battery costs. In addition, our work with a premium car maker has reduced the weight of its future small vehicles by more than 5%.
To find out how our experts can help you meet European carbon emissions reduction targets, please contact us now.
PA analysis: Future fleet emissions for leading car makers (forecasts based on 2011 development cycles).