The Future of European Sustainable Mobility
The European Commission has proposed its European Green Deal that is intended to reset ‘the Commission’s commitment to tackling climate and environmental-related challenges.’ This Green Deal is based on a number of elements such as zero pollution, accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility, and supplying clean, affordable and secure energy, as shown below.
For road transport, the European Commission’s ambition for zero air pollution is to be included as part of an action plan for air, water and soil in 2021.
The European Green Deal communication published in December 2019 says that the EU should ramp up the production and deployment of sustainable alternative transport fuels. It will support national measures and review the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive to accelerate the deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles.
In order to make transport less polluting, the Commission is proposing to revise air pollutant emissions standards for vehicles with internal combustion engines and to revise the legislation on CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans. These changes will set out a pathway towards zero emission mobility.
AECC supports the Commission’s long-term ambition for zero pollution and increased greenhouse gas emission reductions. Clean air and greenhouse gas reduction are priorities for all of us.
Forecasts show that vehicles with an internal combustion engine (ICE) will remain a major element in the powertrain mix in 2030, with predictions varying from 50 to 90% of new car sales. A combination of advanced combustion engine and electric power sources in various forms of hybrid and plug-in vehicles are predicted to dominate the powertrain mix beyond the next decade.
AECC demonstrates emissions reductions are feasible through the use of advanced emission control systems and showed in May 2019 that can achieve near-zero emissions for NOx and particulates (mass and number) in real-world driving. These technologies are available already and will ensure a solid pathway from 2025 onwards, towards zero-emission mobility in 2050.
AECC believes that to achieve truly clean air in cities, the issue of the legacy vehicle fleet on European roads will have to be considered and thoroughly addressed by scrapping the most polluting vehicles.
AECC shares the Commission’s views on the need to ramp-up the production and deployment of sustainable road transport fuels and the consideration of legislative options to boost the production and uptake of these liquid or gaseous fuels. Sustainable fuels can directly impact on both the new and current fleet, accelerating the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Until zero tailpipe emission vehicles become the technology of choice for citizens across Europe, all technology choices should be supported and available on a fair and neutral basis to continue having a positive influence on air quality on the journey towards a zero emissions future. European citizens need to have mobility options which are accessible and affordable. Allowing the market to consider vehicles powered by combustion engines as part of the solution will help the European Commission deliver a Green Deal for more European citizens, leaving no-one behind and ensuring a just transition for the European industry and consumers
Clean – providing technologies to minimise exhaust emissions
Clean air is a priority for all of us, and despite significant progress made over the past years, our cities are still suffering from air pollution. The biggest pollution challenge is in the urban environment. This is why authorities around the world continuously work further on emissions legislation to protect citizens in their daily lives: while travelling to work or school, or while working, studying, playing or taking part in any activity close to a busy road.
Emission control technologies have been helping to reduce vehicle emissions in the EU since the 1990s and are now available to reduce the level of pollutants to near zero under all driving conditions, regardless of the fuel used and the type of vehicle or machine.
Effective policies must address individual exposure to pollutant emissions and ensure the health and well-being of everyone. Real-world pollutant emissions from any vehicle or machine must be within the defined emission limits at every possible operating condition.
Efficient – to help minimise greenhouse gas impact globally
Climate change is a reality. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are contributing to the warming of our planet and road transport is a contributor. The industry will continue to create technologies to increase vehicle and engine efficiency and therefore to reduce its contribution to the GHG levels.
Moreover, emission control technologies allow for the reduction of pollutant emissions, such that combined emissions reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) is possible. Today, vehicles combine the best emission controls with electrified powertrain systems, playing an important part in a cleaner urban environment.
The use of alternative and renewable fuels also lowers GHG emissions while using current technology and fuelling infrastructure.
Every GHG-related policy affecting future mobility should assess the whole life cycle of the vehicle to be able to quantify the full impact on our global environment. We need inspiring policies that match the challenges our planet is facing.
Convenient – accessible and practical to cover every mission
Convenience and accessibility are key to ensuring that those who need to drive can do so in a vehicle that meets their needs. Whether for personal use, business or services, hybrid, petrol- and diesel-fuelled vehicles will continue to provide practical mobility solutions for the EU in the foreseeable future.
Required refuelling and recharging infrastructure to support the market penetration of any new technologies must also be guaranteed in every part of the European region.
The implementation of different transport-related policies must consider how new technologies for mobility will impact all EU citizens, ensuring that appropriate choices are available to everyone, from big European cities to the countryside.
Affordable – supporting mobility for everyone
Everyone has their own priorities when choosing a vehicle. A combination of cost, efficiency, safety, comfort and style will influence customer choice, with purchasing and running costs being particularly important. They will want to continue to have these choices, even as vehicles develop in the future.
For many drivers, a liquid- or gas-fuelled vehicle is the chosen cost-effective option. With technologies to control emissions to near-zero levels and with the use of sustainable fuels, these vehicles can continue to be viable options.
Metals used in emission control catalysts can be recycled, and recycling rates are increasing, further contributing to the affordability of future vehicles.
Only a technology- and fuel-neutral approach to future vehicle legislation will create a variety of mobility offerings which suits every use case and is the only way to guarantee that an affordable solution is available to everyone.