• 20% of new heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) to be zero- or low-emissions by 2030 
  • manufacturers to cut their CO2 emissions by 35% 
  • call for 75% of urban buses to be emission-free by 2030 

Environment MEPs backed plans for lorries and buses to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions on Thursday.

Environment MEPs proposed a higher target (35%) than the European Commission (30%) for new lorries to reduce EU emissions by 2030, with an intermediate target of 20% by 2025.


Manufacturers will also have to ensure that zero- and low-emission vehicles (which emit at least 50% less) represent a 20% market share of the sales of new ones by 2030, and 5% in 2025.


Electric buses target


Environment Committee MEPs added urban buses to the scope of the proposal, and proposed that 50% of new buses should be electric from 2025 and 75% should be electric by 2030. Zero-emission buses are already available on the market and their use is encouraged through measures to increase demand such as public procurement, they say.


Before 2020, the European Commission should come up with plans for a real-world CO2 emissions test for on-road emissions. Third party independent testing of vehicles in use and on road should also be introduced, say MEPs.


Social impacts of decarbonisation


MEPs acknowledge that a socially-acceptable and just transition towards zero-emission mobility requires changes throughout the automotive value chain, with possible negative social impacts. The EU should therefore promote workers in the sector learning new skills and reallocating, particularly in regions and communities most affected by the transition. MEPs also advocate support for European battery manufacturing.


Lifecycle emissions


In its 2022 report, the Commission should work on a possible assessment of the full life-cycle of CO2 emissions produced by heavy-duty vehicles, and propose, if necessary, reporting obligations for manufacturers.


Quote


Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL) rapporteur, said: “Today's majority is making the big polluters of the road responsible for more climate protection. Truck manufacturers need to start investing in clean trucks. The European Union must move from the slow lane to become a pioneer in climate protection in road traffic. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made it very clear that we cannot waste any more time on climate protection".


Next steps


The full House is to vote on the report during November’s plenary session in Strasbourg.


Background


Transport is the only major sector in the EU where greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, say MEPs. In order to meet the commitments made at COP21 in 2015, the decarbonisation of the entire transport sector needs to be accelerated, on the path towards zero-emission by mid-century.


At the same time, the global automotive sector is changing rapidly, in particular in electrified powertrains. If European carmakers engage late in the necessary energy transition, they risk losing their leading role, say MEPs.