After months of intense lobbying, Germany has convinced European Union environmental ministers to keep 2020 new car carbon dioxide emissions standards at 130 grams per kilometer instead of the proposed, stricter 95g/km standard. The German government argued that the tighter regulations would cost jobs and hurt German automakers. BMW and Mercedes-Benz produce larger and heavier cars than other European car companies like Fiat and Renault and they would have a more difficult experience trying to meet the new CO2 standards.
While Americans are still asking whether it’s even wise to buy small turbocharged engines instead of larger naturally aspirated ones, we in Europe are slowly losing our ability to even choose a car without a turbocharged engine. Volkswagen has recently announced that it is going turbo only – but in our market, the transition is nearly complete. Except for base engines in Polo supermini and Up! city car, basically everything else has a turbo slapped on it – and it looks much the same with other VAG brands. Others are following closely – Ford eliminated most of its naturally aspirated engines, except for the base 1.6 in Focus and small engines in Fiesta. Renault is coming with new tiny turbo plants to replace small four cylinder NA motors – and is even introducing them to its low-cost brand Dacia. PSA, Fiat, Opel and others are heading this direction as well.
But, why is that? Is it that Europeans are more forward thinking, more interested in economy an environment than polar bear killing ‘murricans with their massive V6s and V8s? Is it the European driving style and road network, requiring smaller and lighter cars?
In the face of potential CO2 regulations that would mandate tough emissions regulations for new cars in the Eurozone, Germany is doing its best to shut them down completely. And the rest of the EU, along with some OEMs, are not happy about it.
Senior members of the German government are leaning heavily on EU member states, warning “that German automakers could scale back or scrap production plans in their countries unless they support weakened carbon emissions rules,” Reuters writes. Cabinet members are said to focus their strong-arming on EU countries that recently have been bailed-out, mostly with German money. “They have tried everything at the highest level to pressure member states, in particular countries in the bailout club, to support their proposals,” a diplomat told Reuters. The EU Parliament is set to finalize rules that set a 95g CO2 / km limit by 2020.
The fight however seems not so much a quest for cleaner air than an underhanded fight for more breathing room for the auto industries of some member states. (Read More…)
An attempt of Germany to water down CO2 targets, about to be imposed by the EU, explains why automakers are eager to build EVs despite a lack of an eager market. Germany proposes that so-called supercredits can be used to off-set the limits. “Unlimited supercredits could allow the manufacture of electric cars for which there is little or no demand, while allowing just as many polluting vehicles as before on to the roads,” campaigners against supercredits told Reuters. (Read More…)
Advocates of diverting tax money raised from motorists on mass transit insist doing so is essential for protecting the environment. Data published in August by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show that buses outside London produced an average of 221 grams per kilometer of greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than the figure given for small gasoline-powered cars, 210. Small and medium diesel-powered cars also beat the bus with scores of 172 and 215.
“Perhaps those who criticize lone car drivers should turn their attention to empty off-peak buses instead,” Association of British Drivers environment spokesman Paul Biggs said in a statement. “Although buses provide an important public service, even London can only manage an average occupancy of around fifteen passengers. Modern efficient cars outperform buses not just for CO2 emissions, but for genuine pollutants as well.”
The EU has ambitious CO2 targets: Less than 130g/km by 2012, less than 95g/km by 2020. Carmakers are shaking their heads: No way! Even the most electro-agnostic firms tinker with EVs (even if they are from Japan) to bring their average down. “No problem,” says a new study. The targets are a cinch to reach. What’s more, no heavy and expensive batteries to lug around. use the existing engine! No range anxiety. What is that miracle technology? (Read More…)
We didn’t want a big fleet of electric vehicles. We’re only just over two years or so away from the games and time is running out to create a viable network. Many of the vehicles will be used for around 18 hours a day. It’s hard graft, and we knew BMW could supply the vehicles to meet these demands.”
Paul Deighton, CEO of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) explains to Autocar why the games won’t be relying on electric vehicles in 2012. Nissan had presented a bid to be the games’ official vehicle supplier which proposed using Leaf EVs for over half the planned fleet. A “small proportion” of BMW’s winning fleet proposal will be electric MINI Es, and all proposals were required to achieve a fleet average of 120g/km of CO2. But that hasn’t stopped Nissan from getting petulant.