Carmakers push European Commission to change CO2 targets in wake of coronavirus 

Combination of tight CO2 targets and closed dealerships see car makers ask EC “for a delay in the application of certain rules”

A number of car makers have written to the European Commission asking if “certain rules” can be changed due to difficulties related to the coronavirus outbreak. Auto Express understands the requested changes concern whether tough carbon dioxide targets for 2020 can be delayed.

Carmakers must ensure all the cars they sell emit - on average across all sales - no more than 95g/km of carbon dioxide (CO2) from 2020 and 2021, or face huge fines from the Commission. But with dealerships closed across Europe as countries go into lockdown to fight the coronavirus outbreak, manufacturers are worried that they are unable to sell the cleaner cars necessary for them to meet the 95g/km targets.

Auto Express understands that particular concerns surround ‘super-credits’ - which allow each car with CO2 emissions of 50g/km or less that is sold to effectively count as two low-emission cars, greatly reducing recorded fleet average emissions.

But with dealerships closed, the electric cars and plug-in hybrids that would allow those super-credits to be claimed cannot be sold. The super-credit system is most generous this year, with each sub-50g/km car sold counting for two vehicles in 2020, but only 1.67 in 2021, and 1.33 vehicles in 2022. With dealerships potentially closed for months, manufacturers are therefore missing out on the most advantageous time for selling EVs and PHEVs.

A spokesperson for the European Commission (EC) told Auto Express: “The Commission has received a letter from the car industry asking for a delay in the application of certain rules. We will reply to this letter in due course.”

The EC said it would “use all the tools at our disposal and supporting Member States to mitigate the substantial negative socio-economic consequences of the Coronavirus outbreak.” It added these measures “need to be carefully targeted to adequately and efficiently alleviate the socio-economic consequences of the current crisis where it is most urgently needed.”

Fines for not meeting the targets are tough, to the point of being potentially crippling for some firms. Every gram of carbon dioxide that every car emits over the limit leads to a fine of €95 (£83), potentially leading to billions of pounds worth of penalties. The rules have seen Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) pay Tesla to ‘pool’ emissions with the EV maker in order to meet the targets. The move was rumoured to have cost FCA hundreds of millions of Euros, but this move would potentially be less than any CO2-related fines.

Do you think the European Commission should change the CO2 targets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

Recommended

Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirms digital driving licences are on the way
Digital driving licence
Consumer news

Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirms digital driving licences are on the way

DVLA plans to offer a digital provisional driving licence by 2024, with full digital licences to follow at a later date
17 Sep 2021
Electric car charge points to be installed in every new home in the UK
Home charging point
News

Electric car charge points to be installed in every new home in the UK

England will be the first country in the world to introduce mandatory electric car charging points for new-build homes
10 Sep 2021
Government asks for more Smart Motorway safety data with revised Highway Code on the way
smart motorway
News

Government asks for more Smart Motorway safety data with revised Highway Code on the way

A revised version of the Highway Code will cover Smart Motorway driving, as National Highways pledges to improve data and monitoring
8 Sep 2021
New-car market sees weakest August since 2013
Tesla Model 3 - front
News

New-car market sees weakest August since 2013

Semiconductor supply issues continue to hold UK new-car registrations back, with market down 7.6 per cent on 10-year average
6 Sep 2021

Most Popular

Exclusive: banned 71-reg number plates released
Number plates
News

Exclusive: banned 71-reg number plates released

Latest DVLA list of banned UK registrations reveals which 71-plates are too rude for the road
21 Sep 2021
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80

Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES

The Genesis G80 looks to make an impact in the executive saloon class as we pitch it against the Mercedes E-Class and Lexus ES
18 Sep 2021
'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021