Inicio Policity and Regulation Carmakers call for relaxation of regulation ‘tsunami’

Carmakers call for relaxation of regulation ‘tsunami’

Carmakers call for relaxation of regulation ‘tsunami’

Receive the Transport Brief in your inbox by subscribing here.

Car manufacturers’ lobby group ACEA released policy recommendations for the European institutions over the next five years, outlining measures the industry says are vital to meeting the sector’s economic and environmental challenges.

The launch of the ACEA Manifesto on Wednesday (29 November) was a chance for the industry to lay out its wishes for the newly configured European Parliament and Commission, which will be assembled after June’s European elections.

At the top of the list was a call for a new industrial strategy that provides a coherent legislative approach to the expanding areas the automotive industry relies on for success, such as mining, energy production, and charging infrastructure.

As expected from an industry group, the manifesto also calls for reducing the regulatory burden stemming from Brussels. It was stated that the sector experienced a regulatory “tsunami” in the wake of the Green Deal, which will harm the sector’s competitiveness if it continues apace.

ACEA President and Renault CEO Luca de Meo held up the car industry’s investment into reducing its carbon footprint – some €250 billion – as evidence that it is not against green measures despite the calls for a regulatory slowdown.

“Our sector is in the midst of the biggest transformation in over a century,” said de Meo. “There is no question for us about the need to decarbonise. We are investing billions to make this happen – far more than any other sector.”

However, it was argued that the sector needs time to implement the Green Deal measures rather than piling on new rules.

“When we have eight new regulation events coming up each year until 2030, on average, it should ring a bell, telling us that there’s a bug somewhere in the system!” said de Meo.

Additionally, the trade association called for a ramp-up in charging infrastructure across the continent, a measure they said was necessary to facilitate the electric mobility transition and greater incentives to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles.

So, more coherent legislation, targeted support to ensure that the sector can thrive, and a less demanding regulatory approach – so far, quite standard.

Interestingly, the manifesto also calls for Europe to become a hub of intelligent and green manufacturing, focusing on smaller cars.

“We need to collaborate with policymakers to create the conditions for manufacturing a diverse range of zero-emission models, including small, affordable electric vehicles that are profitable to produce in Europe,” said de Meo.

There is a narrative that European carmakers are ceding the smaller electric vehicle market to China, instead focusing on combustion engine cars and more profitable luxury EVs (particularly SUVs).

Meanwhile, China largely leapfrogged the combustion engine era (while there are some petrol and diesel cars from Chinese manufacturers, they’re not worth writing about), instead betting on battery-electric vehicles as the average consumers’ vehicle of choice.

The country also invested heavily in processing facilities for critical raw materials such as lithium and cobalt, becoming the battery manufacturing capital of the world.

And, backed with state funds (which may or may not be legitimate), Chinese car companies grew in quality and professionalism. Soon, their average offerings became known for excellent value between cost and car.

Sensing the threat from the Chinese dragon, Europe is looking to ensure that smaller, affordable vehicle market share remains in European hands, even after combustion engine cars fade in the rearview mirror.

Regarding electric vehicles, ACEA forecasts that the share of EVs will rise from around 14% to 20% in 2024.

One in five vehicles is a remarkable improvement from even ten years ago, but Europe’s green transport ambitions depend on that figure growing rapidly.

The next European Parliament’s political leaning will help determine whether policymakers will reach that goal by following industry’s manifesto, or continuing with ever stricter regulatory measures.

– Sean Goulding Carroll

Germany’s Wissing pressured to deliver on e-fuels promise

Germany’s Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP/Renew) has come under pressure for not delivering on his claims that he had prevented the phase-out of the internal combustion engine.

In the debate about the EU’s CO2 standards for cars and vans, which de-facto ban the sale of new cars with an internal combustion engine as of 2035, Wissing had secured an exemption for cars running on e-fuels, which should continue to be allowed even after that date.

“In March of this year, you, Minister Wissing, had yourself celebrated here in the Bundestag as the saviour of the combustion engine and as a fighter for technological openness,” Thomas Bareiß, a German lawmaker from the conservative opposition CDU (EPP) said in a debate in the German parliament on Friday (1 December).

“Today, however, nine months after your promises, there is nothing concrete to be seen of this in Brussels,” he added, blaming the minister for not living up to his rhetoric.

For the exemption to be implemented, the European Commission has committed to creating a new category of vehicles for cars running exclusively on e-fuels.

This is currently being discussed with technical experts of the member states in the “Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles”. A proposal for the new category proved controversial, as it includes the obligation for e-fuels to reduce emissions by 100% to be eligible for the new category.

The next meeting of the Committee is set to take place today (5 December).

– Jonathan Packroff

After COVID travel chaos, EU Commission aims to boost passenger rights

The European Commission tabled an update to passenger rights rules on Wednesday (29 November) to prevent a repeat of the confusion and frustration experienced by passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic travel disruption.

Economic losses pile up in Ukraine as Polish truckers protest

Weeks of road blockades by Polish truckers protesting at the border will reduce Ukraine’s overall imports by about a fifth in November and could cost Kyiv one percentage point of GDP growth if they drag on, a Ukrainian official said.

EU Parliament backs rules to ensure foreign drivers can’t escape traffic fines

Lawmakers in the European Parliament’s transport committee voted on Wednesday (29 November) to make it easier to enforce penalties on motorists visiting from other EU countries for traffic violations – though local authorities say the measures do not go far enough.

Safety groups urge ministers not to allow teenagers to drive trucks

Safety campaigners have written to EU ministers urging them to reject moves to lower the age at which young people can begin training to drive a heavy-duty vehicle, arguing it could lead to higher numbers of serious road accidents.

German climate policy insufficient, court rules

The German government must present emergency programmes to improve its climate policy in the transport and buildings sector, a Berlin court ruled on Thursday (30 November), after the country repeatedly failed to meet emission reduction targets.

[Edited by Alice Taylor]

Read more with Euractiv