Barcelona, March 14, 2018.- The big data of the automotive industry in Europe are the following:  12.6 million people – or 5.7% of the EU employed population – work in the sector. The 3.3 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent almost 11% of EU manufacturing employment. Motor vehicles account for almost €396 billion in tax contributions in the EU15. The sector is also a key driver of knowledge and innovation, representing Europe’s largest private contributor to R&D, with more than €50 billion invested annually. The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of about €90 billion for the EU.

And ACEA represents the 15 Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.

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The road to electric power in vehicles

The 2030 CO2 target and benchmark would be subject to a review clause according to Article 14 of the draft recast proposal, which states that: “The Commission shall in 2024 submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the effectiveness of this Regulation, this report will consider, the deployment on the Union market of zero- and low-emission vehicles and the roll-out of recharging and refuelling infrastructure reported under Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council”.

With that in mind, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) takes note of the fact that the Commission is making an explicit link between the deployment of alternative-fuel infrastructure and attaining the 2030 CO2 targets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Moreover, this also means that the European Commission recognises the importance of infrastructure deployment for alternative fuels in reaching any CO2 target beyond 2020, with consumer acceptance heavily depending on the availability of such refuelling and recharging infrastructure.  ACEA´S perspective on the action plan:

  1. ACEA is a long-time and active advocate of the necessity of rolling out recharging and refuelling infrastructure for alternatively-powered vehicles in order to promote the market uptake of such vehicles – especially given that the current lack of infrastructure is one of the major hurdles to widespread consumer acceptance. In other words, there is a clear correlation between today’s limited availability of appropriate infrastructure and the low market share of alternatively-powered vehicles in the EU.
  2. Similarly, ACEA has always been a staunch supporter of a strong DAFI proposal that seeks clear commitments from member states. From that perspective, ACEA welcomes the European Commission’s activities that focus on:
    1. a)  Persuading member states to properly implement the DAFI Directive, as well as any efforts to streamline the focus of the national plans of the 28 member states, which are still highly divergent across the EU today.
    2. b)  Acknowledging the importance of the availability of infrastructure for alternative fuels across the European Union.
    3. c)  Respecting the technology neutrality principle that covers all types of fuels within the National Policy Frameworks.
    4. d)  Ensuring the availability of alternative-fuel infrastructure across the Trans- European Transport Networks (TEN-T).
  3. EU automobile manufacturers also welcome the Commission’s initiative to make enhanced financing tools available at EU level as a part of the Action Plan. The plan adopted by the
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Commission will soon be available to support the deployment of all different fuel types that are relevant for the different vehicle segments.

  1. In addition, ACEA confirms its full commitment to efforts to speed up DAFI implementation and guidance through the Sustainable Transport Forum that was established by the Commission. The forum should be seen as the core coordination instrument for reporting on progress made on the National Policy Frameworks and implementation of the steps specified in the Action Plan.
  2. ACEA would like to stress the importance of investments in smart grids as a prerequisite for making smart charging possible. The readiness and availability of electricity grids is seen by ACEA as a key bottleneck for the execution of the EU strategy on alternative-fuel infrastructure. As highlighted in various studies (for example those by Eurelectric3 and FTI Consulting4), upgrading grid capacity and flexibility will be a major investment challenge in the coming years – posing a potential threat to wider consumer acceptance and market uptake, especially in the case of electrically-chargeable vehicles.

Key Recommendations

  1. ACEA endorses the initiatives of the European Commission that seek to support the EU- wide deployment of alternative-fuel infrastructure. In doing so, the Commission should ensure that implementation of the DAFI Directive is coherent and consistent across all 28 member states. The Sustainable Transport Forum should be seen as the key instrument to steer the member states.
  2. The proposed Action Plan confirms the crucial importance of infrastructure availability in stimulating consumer acceptance of alternatively-powered vehicles. ACEA confirms its support for including infrastructure-based conditionality in the draft CO2 recast proposal as well as in the review clause for the 2030 LZEV benchmark and the 2030 CO2 targets – ie those should be conditional based on the real market uptake of alternatively-powered vehicles and availability of the necessary infrastructure.
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  1. This type of conditionality mechanism should also be considered for the 2025 LZEV benchmark and the interim CO2 target proposed for that year. Given today’s very low market uptake of alternatively-powered vehicles, the inclusion of such a mechanism would be of the utmost importance.
  1. Moreover, the European Commission should continue to respect the technology neutrality principle in all policy areas, as it does within the DAFI Directive and the Action Plan. The decarbonisation of road transport via alternative fuels will require different fuels for different vehicle segments – no solution should be excluded.
  2. The Action Plan, and all initiatives to support alternative fuels that are covered by it, should be promoted and reflected in all relevant policy initiatives of the European Commission – especially the Clean Mobility Package and the post-2020 CO2 review, as well as the review of the Clean Vehicles Directive. The Action Plan rightly focusses on addressing the urgent lack of infrastructure and the need for technological neutrality, but this is not sufficiently reflected in other parts of the Clean Mobility Package in ACEA’s view.

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