The European Parliament's environment committee is supporting a proposal to electronically limit the top speed of vans in the European Union to 120 km (75 miles) per hour. This plan is part of a discussion on how to reduce carbon emissions and boost the fuel efficiency of Europe's vehicles. To become law, it has to get the approval of EU member states.
According to the proposal presented last Tuesday, automakers have to install devices on all new vans that are sold in the European Union in order to limit their speed starting Jan. 1, 2014. In addition, the environment committee members voted on rules to apply a 147 grams per km (g/km) carbon dioxide emission restriction as an average for all EU new vans from 2020. The rules also seek to implement a maximum range of 105 g/km to 120 g/km starting in 2025.
German liberal politician Holger Krahmer, who has been fronting the discussion on vans in the European Parliament, is glad about the confirmation of the 147 g/km goal. However, he fought the speed limit, explaining that road traffic rules were a subject for individual member states.
The European Automobile Manufacturer's Association, which consists of automakers such as Daimler, Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe and Renault Group, said that the target of 147 g/km was very ambitious and may only be attained with hybrid vehicle technology.
In a statement, ACEA said that it is urging for "more effective" use of loopholes named supercredits, which permit manufacturers to continue building high-power, polluting vehicles if they also build very low emission vehicles like electric vans and cars.
The initial proposals from the European Commission indicated that supercredits may hasten innovation; however, if the allocation is too generous, it will weaken the effectiveness of the law to boost fuel efficiency and cut emissions. According to environmental campaigners, the 147-gram target for vans is not ambitious enough. They argue that it’s easy to achieve this via measures like lighter materials and more streamlining and that it is not even as ambitious than the proposals for cars.