Car CO2 emissions up: auto makers urge investment in charging infrastructure to boost electric cars

Brussels, 5 April 2019 – Average CO2 emissions from new cars were 118.5 grams of CO2 per kilometre in 2017, or up 0.4% compared to 2016, according to data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) yesterday. This final data largely confirms the provisional 2017 figures, already published by the EEA in April last year.

“It is no coincidence that 2017 marked the first increase in CO2 from cars since records began in 2010, as it was also the first year that petrol overtook diesel in terms of new car sales,” stated Erik Jonnaert, Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

Indeed, petrol cars emit more CO2 emissions than equivalent diesel cars. As the EEA confirmed yesterday: “if similar petrol and diesel segments are compared, new conventional petrol cars emitted 10-40% more [CO2] than new conventional diesel cars.”

Jonnaert added: “Given that sales of diesel cars continued their decline in 2018, all indications unfortunately point to CO2 emissions increasing for a second year running in 2018.”

Recent ACEA data shows that last year only 2% of all new cars registered were electrically-chargeable. By contrast, petrol further expanded its market share by almost 6.5 percentage points in 2018, accounting for 56.7% of all cars sold in the EU.

Meeting the 2021 CO2 targets – not to mention the extremely stringent 2025 and 2030 targets that were agreed recently – will require a much stronger uptake of alternatively-powered cars.

“All auto manufacturers continue to invest strongly in their portfolios of alternatively-powered cars, most notably electric ones,” Jonnaert explained. “However, the reality is that consumers are not rushing to buy these vehicles in large numbers.”

There are several major barriers holding back consumers, such as the affordability of these cars and the lack of suitable charging and refuelling infrastructure across the EU.

Today, there are some 150,000 public charging points for electric cars available in the EU. At least 2.8 million will be needed by 2030, according to conservative estimates by the European Commission. That translates to almost a 20-fold increase within the next 12 years.

Jonnaert: “We urge national governments and EU policy makers to make the much-needed infrastructure investments so that sales of electrically-chargeable cars can really take off in Europe.”

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Notes for editors

  • ACEA represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, CNH Industrial, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • More information can be found on www.acea.be or @ACEA_eu.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.be, +32 2 738 73 45 or +32 485 88 66 47.

About the EU automobile industry

  • 13.3 million people – or 6.1% of the EU employed population – work directly and indirectly in the sector.
  • The 3.4 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent over 11% of total EU manufacturing employment.
  • Motor vehicles account for some €413 billion in tax contributions in the EU15.
  • The sector is also a key driver of knowledge and innovation, representing Europe's largest private contributor to R&D, with €54 billion invested annually.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €90.3 billion for the EU.