According to a new report by the EEA, the winner of the diesel emissions scandal is the petrol powered car. Governments and the industry have yet to facilitate a serious increase in EV registrations, as their share still languishes at less than 1%.
A newly released report by the European Environmental Agency (EEA), named TERM 2018 – Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism report, paints a sobering picture of the EU transport sector’s performance in reducing its impact on the climate.
The report suggests that emissions resulting from the personal transportation sector are on the rise again. Reportedly, emissions from the transport sector have been rising since 2014, to reach a point at which they were 26% higher relative to 1990 in 2016, and 28% higher relative to 1990, in 2017. A dent in emissions prior to 2014 has been connected to rising fuel costs as a result of an oil crisis, as well as the economic crisis that hit the EU and reduced overall mobility, by the report.
Meanwhile, EV adoption rates remain woefully low, despite what looks like an impressive growth rate of 51% compared to 2016. The total share of new vehicle registrations in the EU is just 0.6% for Battery EV’s (BEV) and 0.8% Plug-in Hybrid EVs (PHEV). In light of the diesel emissions scandal, petrol cars have experienced a serious uptake in new registrations with 53% of the total share, thus overtaking diesel for the first time since the annual report was published in 2010.
Furthermore, the report shows that diesel fuel comprised 67% of total fuel sold for road transport use in 2016. For the first time since 2010, the average CO2 emission of new passenger cars increased, by 0.4%, in 2017. The sector relies heavily on oil-derived fuels, as they continue to account for 95% of final energy consumption in transport.
The EU set itself a 10% renewable energy utilization target for the transport sector in its Renewable Energy Directive (2009/38/EC) to be reached by 2020. The target is likely to be missed, as progress between 2016 and 2017 was just 0.1%. The report’s authors identify Austria and Sweden as the only EU member states to have already surpassed the 10% target.
If the EU were serious about its climate goals, EV’s would have been a good option, the report finds. While EV’s have higher emissions resulting from their production process, their overall life-cycle emissions are about 17-30% lower than emissions of petrol and diesel cars.
Additionally, bearing in mind the current carbon intensity trajectory of the EU’s energy mix, this rate is bound to fall to 73% lower emissions by 2050. However, the report also highlights that if BEVs are charged with electricity generated purely from coal, their lifetime emissions would, in fact, be higher than those of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). Life-cycle emission from BEV’s entirely powered using renewable energy resources are estimated to be 90% less compared to ICEVs.
The slow adoption rate and underperformance on climate goals, has caused an unlikely feud between Germany’s car industry and its otherwise industry friendly conservative politicians from the CSU and CDU parties. In what must be a world first, German transport minister Andreas Scheuer, of the CSU, lashed out against Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. In an interview with a German tabloid newspaper, the CEO claimed that the car industry has never received any help from politics to accelerate EV adoption.
Transport minister Scheuer immediately ordered his ministry to tally up the bill which amounted to €5.2 billion since 2009. The otherwise industry friendly minister showed himself to be surprisingly angry, now asking Germany’s car industry why he does not see any EV’s on the roads. More criticism came from German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, who asked why the German car manufacturers are not in the position to make EV’s that are even half as “sexy” as a Tesla.
Currently, German car manufacturers have 30 EV models in their product portfolios. However, waiting lists are prohibitively long. According to recent reports, customers will often have to wait more than a year for their shiny new EV. Additionally, the development of comprehensive charging infrastructure is a significant drag on demand, still putting off many buyers.
Source PV Magazine