Europe

Europe

Europe is one of the three largest vehicle markets in the world, the historic home of automotive, aircraft manufacturing, and shipbuilding industries and innovative engineering firms, an engine of world trade and hub of the intricate transport infrastructure it demands. The European Union has at times been a leader in environmental policy for the transportation sector, and it has an indispensable, and growing, part to play in global efforts to respond to the threats posed by climate change. The questions facing EU policy makers on clean transportation—from reforming a decentralized regulatory structure governing vehicle emissions to shaping policy promoting renewable fuels to devising an effective approach to reducing aviation’s carbon emissions—are challenging and urgent.

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About the program

Europe is one of the three largest vehicle markets in the world, the historic home of automotive, aircraft manufacturing, and shipbuilding industries and innovative engineering firms, an engine of world trade and hub of the intricate transport infrastructure it demands. The European Union has at times been a leader in environmental policy for the transportation sector, and it has an indispensable, and growing, part to play in global efforts to respond to the threats posed by climate change. The questions facing EU policy makers on clean transportation—from reforming a decentralized regulatory structure governing vehicle emissions to shaping policy promoting renewable fuels to devising an effective approach to reducing aviation’s carbon emissions—are challenging and urgent.

ICCT Europe played the crucial role in bringing to light the “emissions gap”—the discrepancy between official, type-approval values and real performance in everyday operation—growing in Europe in both passenger-car CO2 and diesel NOx, and we continue to extend policy makers’, and the public’s, awareness of the scope and scale of those problems. ICCT research contributes to the technical foundations underlying the EU’s plans to regulate CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and to reform the legislation supporting low-carbon fuels in Europe. We’re increasingly involved with cities and other local governments in aid to their efforts to improve local air quality and to find effective ways to stimulate a transition to electric-drive vehicles.

There is significant technology potential to improve the fuel efficiency and reduce the CO2 emissions of the average freight truck in the EU in both the mid-term (now to 2025) and long term (2030). A technology-forcing HDV efficiency standard for Europe must be stringent enough to incentivize long-term technologies, i.e., work to pull technologies into the market faster than would occur because of market forces alone.

[See "Fuel efficiency technology in European heavy-duty vehicles:
Baseline and potential for the 2020–2030 timeframe
"]

Recent publications

The role of standards in reducing CO2 emissions of passenger cars in the EU

Effectively enforced vehicle CO2 performance standards are at the core of any effort to realize lower-carbon transport. EU member states should implement supporting policy measures such as emissions-based vehicle taxes, mandates for electric vehicles, and emissions-based road pricing.

2018.02.12 | Briefing
Effects of battery manufacturing on electric vehicle life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions

Reviews recent research regarding greenhouse gas emissions from the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. We analyze this research in the overall context of life-cycle emissions of electric cars as compared to conventional internal combustion vehicles in Europe. Finally, we discuss the primary drivers of battery manufacturing emissions and how these emissions could be further mitigated in the future.

2018.02.09 | Briefing
A comparison of induced land-use change emissions estimates from energy crops

Finds that ILUC emissions from energy cropping are highly sensitive to assumptions of the composition of marginal lands and suggests that additional sustainability safeguards may be necessary for energy cropping in order to ensure that it only occurs on low-carbon stock land.

2018.02.06 | White paper
See all publications

Staff blog

2017 year in review: European diesel down, electric vehicles on the rise

News outlets have compiled their "best-ofs"—or more likely "worst-ofs"—lists for 2017. Here we hop on the bandwagon and look back at last year in the European vehicle market. Demand for low-emission vehicles continued to grow while diesel sales continued to fall, thanks in part to a smorgasbord of policies to clean up road transportation.

Staff