daimler vito e-cell.automotiveIT

With battery-powered vans such as this Mercedes Vito E-Cell, automakers will try to lower average fleet CO2 emissions

The European Parliament has approved stricter CO2 limits for vans and other light commercial vehicles, in a move aimed at bringing the sector in line with Europe-wide legislation covering the passenger-car industry

The Parliament said the legislation, which still requires approval by the EU Council of Ministers, should contribute to better air quality and push small companies that depend on vans to buy more fuel-efficient ones.

News of the parliamentary approval was met with concern by the European automakers association (ACEA).

The long-term objectives set by the legislation will be challenging, said Ivan Hodac, ACEA’s secretary general. “They will require the market introduction of breakthrough technologies that are far away from being a viable business option.”

Under the terms of the new rules, the average emissions of 70 pc of a manufacturer’s fleet must meet a limit of 175g CO2/km by 2017. The limit will apply to all vehicles by 2017, and by 2020 average van CO2 emissions have to drop to 147g/km.

By comparison, average van CO2 emissions stood at 203 g/km in 2007.

A failure to meet the targets will result in penalties. But vans that emit less than 50g/km will earn carmakers so-called “supercredits” for a limited time. Under this scheme, each low-emission van will count as 3.5 vehicles toward the 2014 target.