The European Union has set mandatory carbon dioxide (CO2) targets for both cars and light commercial vehicles. The specific target for an automaker depends on the average weight of the automaker’s vehicles registered in a given year; lower average vehicle weight results in stricter CO2 targets for a given automaker. Ford cars registered in the EU have relatively low average weight compared to other automakers, which results in stricter targets for Ford compared to the overall industry target of 130 g/km during the 2012–2015 period. This target is set to decrease to 95 g/km in 2020; however, the modalities of reaching the 2020 target are set to be reviewed and further detailed in 2013.
The EU has also established significant regulations about other items related to climate change, such as fuels (including bio-blending), tires and gear-shift indicators, among others. In fact, automobiles are one of the most regulated products in the EU, with requirements also covering non-CO2 emissions, drive-by noise, recycling, substances, electro-magnetic requirements, safety, technical aspects and more. Ford is complying and will continue to comply with all these various targets and prohibitions with appropriate product offerings, in spite of the sudden and dramatic economic downturn that has severely limited the resources available to respond.
In general, Ford is requesting that regulations and policies be well coordinated and not contradictory to each other, and that they also be technology-neutral, be proportional, avoid double regulation, offer sufficient lead time to adjust development and production cycles and follow an integrated approach in which all stakeholders (industry, infrastructure, consumers and governments) contribute to the solution. Also, any CO2 regulations should be in line with meeting the global CO2 target of 450 ppm.
In several EU member states, CO2 taxation is in place to encourage the early introduction of low-CO2 vehicles. The major tax break points are often around 50 g/km, 95–100 g/km, and 120 g/km, with very high taxation in some countries above these levels. Unfortunately, these tax break points are not harmonized among the European countries.
The industry will continue to invest heavily in research and development and new product programs in order to reach short-term CO2 targets. The long-term target will require technological breakthroughs, new refueling infrastructure and a swift renewal of the car fleet on Europe’s roads.