Motor manufacturers accelerate vehicle carbon cuts

Published on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 09:56
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Car manufacturers continue to make progress towards EU carbon emissions targets, with almost half already achieving the 2015 benchmark.

Figures from analysts Redspy published last week show that by July this year the fleets of 15 of the 31 major European manufacturers already had average emissions below the 130 grams of CO2 per kilometre mark that will become compulsory by 2015.

However, manufacturers are still a way short of the 2020 target, which will require average emissions to have fallen to 95g/km.

Leading the way is Fiat, with average emissions of just over 113g/km, ahead of Toyota and Lexus, both on 117g/km, while Citroen delivered average emissions of 120g/km and Seat achieved 123g/km.

Peugeot, Suzuki, Alfa Romeo, Kia, Volkswagen, Ford, Renault, Hyundai and Skoda, all recorded reductions in emissions over the past year, leaving Mini as the one company heading in the wrong direction, with emissions rising 0.2 per cent.

Lexus achieved the biggest year-on-year improvement with emissions dropping 11.3 per cent, after achieving a 28 per cent reduction across the whole of 2011.

Even the two manufacturers with the highest CO2 emissions, Porsche on 201g/km and Land Rover on 196g/km, have both cut their emissions by 10 per cent in the last year.

Jay Nagley, managing director of Redspy, told BusinessGreen no major manufacturer would end the year with a figure of over 200g/km and expressed confidence that all manufacturers will meet the 130g/km mark by 2015.

The progress gives further credence to claims by green groups that manufacturers have over-stated the difficulty and cost of cutting new car emissions to ensure less stretching targets.

Campaigners say increasing the 2020 target to 80g/km is feasible and would save drivers €150 per year in fuel costs, as well as helping trim the €100bn worth of oil EU countries import each year to fuel their cars.

However, a spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) defended the industry's efforts.

"In the UK, vehicle manufacturers have cut new car CO2 emissions by more than 23 per cent since 2000 by investing heavily in R&D and developing low and ultra-low carbon vehicles across their product ranges," he said in an emailed statement. "The steady improvement in conventional technologies and the range of alternative technologies are creating one of the most innovative periods for the global automotive industry.

"Progress towards [long-term] decarbonisation of the transport system will require step-changes in technology and development and the re-fuelling infrastructure, while motorists will also need to welcome and adapt to changes."

Source: ©BusinessGreen

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