Let me first of all take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year! 2016 will be a special year for ACEA, as it was exactly 25 years ago that our association was created by the merger of what were then two separate automotive organisations.
ACEA’s 25th anniversary presents an opportunity for Europe’s automobile manufactures to reflect on experiences, build on the achievements made by our industry over the past decades, and to look ahead at how we can address tomorrow’s challenges. ACEA’s key priorities for this year include decarbonising road transport, further improving air quality, and paving the way for connected and autonomous vehicles.
When it comes to reducing CO2 emissions from road transport, our industry is committed to continue investing in innovation. Not only by further optimising combustion engines, but increasingly also by investing in alternative power trains and exploring the potential of intelligent transport systems. However, at the same time Europe will need to embrace a more coherent and comprehensive approach that looks at all factors that affect emissions during the use of a vehicle, instead of only focussing on vehicle technology. That’s why last year, ACEA initiated several stakeholder dialogues to explore the potential of such an integrated approach to reducing emissions, both for passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles.
In order to identify the technologies and measures that can reduce CO2 emissions in the most effective way, ACEA will continue to join forces with a wide range of stakeholders this year, including other industry sectors. For trucks and buses, ACEA has been working in partnership with some 15 relevant organisations. On 16 February, we will be organising a lively debate with policy makers, industry representatives and other stakeholders on the potential of the integrated approach for heavy-duty vehicles. If you haven’t registered yet for this event, make sure to do so by clicking here.
As one of Europe’s key industrial sectors, car manufacturers have invested heavily in innovation during the past two and a half decades – and our industry will remain a force for change in the future. Indeed, it is expected that connected and automated driving will revolutionise individual mobility within the space of just a few years. Concrete opportunities in this field that top ACEA’s agenda for 2016 include our involvement in the European Truck Platooning Challenge. This initiative by the Dutch EU Presidency seeks to promote platooning – the linking of two or three self-driving trucks in convoy – by bringing these trucks on public roads for the first time. This year, we will also continue our recently-initiated industry dialogue with the telecoms sector. Together with Europe’s mobile and telecom operators we want to overcome the hurdles that still curb the roll-out of car connectivity and automation.
Last but not least, I should emphasise the importance that our industry gives to updating emissions testing. ACEA will continue to contribute constructively to the on-going process of updating and strengthening testing requirements, for both pollutant and CO2 emissions, in 2016. Despite the tremendous challenges posed by the ambitious RDE proposal that was recently tabled, we urgently need clarity so manufacturers can plan the development and design of vehicles in line with the new RDE requirements. Any delay to this legislation, would leave little time to make the necessary changes and ultimately would just push back the benefits for the environment.
Secretary General of ACEA