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Van operators face massive CO2 fines

Date: 24 February 2011   |   Author:

The European Parliament has confirmed tough LCV emissions targets with massive fines attached to failure to achieve.

From 2014, all manufacturers must average CO2 emissions of no more than 175g/km, with fines of ?5 per registration for being just 1g/km above that, rising to ?140 per vehicle if they are 4g/km over, and then going up by ?95 for every g/km after that. From 2019, the proposal is ?95 for every g/km over 175g/km.

The new target is being introduced gradually, with only 70% compliance required in 2014, rising by 5% per year for the next two years before complete compliance being required from 2017. The current average across the entire LCV parc is around 200g/km, according to European car manufacturer's association ACEA.

There's another step-change planned in 2020, with the target of a 147g/km average, but that will be confirmed in a review two years from now.

The European Parliament has inserted incentives for van manufacturers into its new rules, with the first 25,000 sub-50g/km vehicles counting as 3.5 vehicles in 2014 and 2015, before dropping to 2.5 and 1.5 in the following two years as an incentive to get low-emission vehicles into the marketplace to lower the average. That will include electric vehicles like the Renault Kangoo ZE and Azure Ford Transit Connect Electric, with the potential for new hybrid vehicles to be added.

"The goalposts are now set and the automobile industry will do its utmost to meet these targets", said Ivan Hodac, secretary general of ACEA. "However, especially the long-term objectives will be challenging. They will require the market introduction of breakthrough technologies that are far away from being a viable business option."

Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders boss Paul Everitt said: "The industry is pleased the European Parliament has come to a decision on CO2 emissions targets for LCVs as vehicle manufacturers are committed to lowering emissions as part of ongoing introductions of low, lower and ultra-low carbon vehicles."

"The task is pretty tough and will be challenging, but all manufacturers are aware they have to do their bit," said an SMMT spokesman. "On the whole, and it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, there is a feeling of, these are the rules and we'll work within them."

But the SMMT's spokesman did sound a warning, as the European Parliament pushes the LCV industry down a path already being trodden by the car equivalents. "People may be pushed down the route of running smaller and smaller vans, to the point where you would need two to do the job of one larger one, and that's not going to help the environment," he said.

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