New EU Regulation on CO2 Emissions Targets for Heavy Duty Vehicles Published
Following the implementation of legislation to reduce the average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from passenger cars and from light goods vehicles, the European Union turned their attention to establishing equivalent requirements for heavy duty vehicles, i.e. goods vehicles with a GVW exceeding 3,500kg and passenger vehicles with more than eight passenger seats. However, due to the huge variety of vehicle specifications and usage profiles for vehicles falling into the heavy duty vehicle category, this has not been a simple task.
Firstly, it was necessary to develop a method of accurately determining the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from heavy duty vehicles, bearing in mind the wide variety of final vehicle specifications available, e.g. engine and gearbox options, axle and drive axle configurations, tyre sizes and specifications, cab styles, bodywork configurations, etc.
In association with the EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission developed the Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO) for this purpose. VECTO is a calculation tool that allows the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of heavy duty vehicles to be established and its mandatory use was implemented by EU Regulation No. 2017/2400.
Since July 1, 2019, it has been mandatory for VECTO calculated fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures to be established for all new 4x2 rigid trucks and tractors with a GVW exceeding 16,000kg and for all new 6x2 rigid trucks and tractors.
Next, it was necessary to implement a monitoring and reporting procedure to allow the European Commission to collate data on the CO2 emissions of all heavy duty vehicles registered throughout the EU on an annual basis. Initially, this data was needed to establish a "baseline" on which future CO2 emissions reduction targets can be based. Then the annually collected data would be used to determine heavy duty vehicle manufacturer's compliance with the specified CO2 emissions reduction targets.
This monitoring and reporting procedure was introduced by EU Regulation No. 2018/956 and, since January 1, 2019, Member States and heavy duty vehicle manufacturers have been required to monitor and record data regarding the vehicle specification and CO2 performance of all newly registered heavy duty vehicles.
The final step was to establish the CO2 reduction targets themselves and the associated processes and procedures to implement them. Over the past two years, it is these requirements that have been subject to intense discussion and negotiation within and between the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament, and to significant lobbying activities by both heavy duty vehicle manufacturers and environmental groups.
The negotiations were finally completed earlier this year and the resulting new Regulation, (EU) No. 2019/1242, was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on July 25, 2019.
Due to the numerous issues that were raised during the negotiations and the compromises that were struck to address them, the requirements specified in this new Regulation are very complex and too detailed to summarise fully within this article. However, the headline requirements can be summarised as follows:
- The scope of the Regulation, and hence the applicability of the CO2 reduction targets, is restricted to 4x2 rigid trucks and tractors with a GVW exceeding 16,000kg and all 6x2 rigid trucks and tractors, except "vocational vehicles" such as refuse collection trucks.
- The baseline CO2 emissions performance, referred to as the "reference CO2 emissions", is defined as the average CO2 emissions figures for all heavy duty vehicles falling within the scope of the Regulation which are registered within the EU between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.
- The reporting periods for the application of the CO2 reduction targets run from July 1, in the specified year to June 30, in the following year.
- The CO2 reduction target for the 2025 to 2029 reporting periods is 15%, i.e. the target for each heavy duty vehicle manufacturer is to achieve an average CO2 emissions figure for all of the vehicles which it registers within the EU during the reporting period that is 15% lower than the "reference CO2 emissions" figure.
- Heavy duty vehicle manufacturers that fail to meet this target will be subject to a fine based on an "excess CO2 emissions premium" of €4,250 for each gCO2/tkm above the target, multiplied by the number of vehicles registered by that manufacturer during the reporting period.
- The CO2 reduction target for the 2030 and subsequent reporting periods is 30%, i.e. the target for each heavy duty vehicle manufacturer is to achieve an average CO2 emissions figure for all of the vehicles which it registers within the EU during the reporting period that is 30% lower than the "reference CO2 emissions" figure.
- Heavy duty vehicle manufacturers that fail to meet this target will be subject to a fine based on an "excess CO2 emissions premium" of €6,800 for each gCO2/tkm above the target, multiplied by the number of vehicles registered by that manufacturer during the reporting period.
- For the 2025 and subsequent reporting periods, a heavy duty vehicle manufacturer's average CO2 emissions figure can be reduced if at least 2% of the vehicles registered by than manufacturer in the reporting period qualify as zero and/or low emission vehicles.