Vans ('light commercial vehicles') account for around 12% of the EU market for light-duty vehicles.
As part of the strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles, in 2011 the EU adopted legislation setting CO2 emission targets for new vans sold on the European market. The law is similar to that for new cars.
The Vans Regulation limits CO2 emissions from new vans to a fleet average of 175 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2017 – with the target phased in from 2014 - and 147 g/km by 2020. The regulation is currently undergoing amendment in order to implement the 2020 target.
These cuts represent reductions of 14% and 28% respectively compared with the 2007 average of 203 g CO2/km.
In terms of fuel consumption, the 2017 target is approximately equivalent to 7.5 litres per 100 km (l/100 km) of petrol or 6.6 l/100 km of diesel. The 2020 target equates approximately to 6.3 l/100 km of petrol or 5.5 l/100 km of diesel.
Key elements of the legislation are as follows:
Emission limits are set according to the mass of vehicle, using a limit value curve. The curve is set in such a way that a fleet average of 175 grams of CO2 per kilometre is achieved by 2017. The limit value curve means that heavier vans are allowed higher emissions than lighter vans while preserving the overall fleet average. Only the fleet average is regulated, so manufacturers will still be able to make vehicles with emissions above the limit value curve provided these are balanced by vehicles below the curve.
The EU fleet average target of 175 g CO2/km will be phased in between 2014 and 2017. In 2014 an average of 70% of each manufacturer's newly registered vans must comply with the limit value curve set by the legislation. This proportion will rise to 75% in 2015, 80% in 2016, and 100% from 2017 onwards.
The legislation affects light commercial vehicles, which means vehicles used to carry goods weighing up to 3.5 tonnes (vans and car-derived vans, known as "N1") and which weigh less than 2610 kg when empty.
If the average CO2 emissions of a manufacturer's fleet exceed its limit value in any year from 2014, the manufacturer has to pay an excess emissions premium for each van registered. This premium amounts to €5 for the first g/km of exceedance, €15 for the second g/km, €25 for the third g/km, and €95 for each subsequent g/km. From 2019, the cost will be €95 from the first gram of exceedance onwards. This value is equivalent to the premium for passenger cars.
A further emission reduction to 147g CO2/km is specified for the year 2020. Following a thorough assessment of its costs and benefits, in July 2012 the Commission proposed legislation confirming this target and setting out the modalities of how it should be reached. The proposal requires approval by the European Parliament and Council to become law. For a summary see the section 'Implementation of the 2020 target' below.
Because the test procedure used for vehicle type approval is outdated, certain innovative technologies cannot demonstrate their CO2-reducing effects under the type approval test. Manufacturers can be granted emission credits equivalent to a maximum emissions saving of 7g/km per year for their fleet if they equip vehicles with innovative technologies, based on independently verified data.
The vans Regulation gives manufacturers additional incentives to produce vehicles with extremely low emissions (below 50g/km). Each low-emitting van will be counted as 3.5 vehicles in 2014 and 2015, 2.5 in 2016, 1.5 vehicles in 2017 and then 1 vehicle from 2018 onwards. This approach will help manufacturers further reduce the average emissions of their new van fleet. They will be able to claim this 'super credit' for a maximum of 25,000 vans over the 2014-17 period.
Manufacturers may group together to form a pool and act jointly in meeting the emission target. In forming a pool, manufacturers must respect the rules of competition law and the information that they exchange should be limited to average specific emissions of CO2, their specific emissions targets, and their total number of vehicles registered.
Independent manufacturers which sell fewer than 22,000 vehicles per year can propose their own emissions reduction target which is subject to approval by the Commission. The Commission decides on the basis of a set of agreed criteria which include the manufacturer's emissions reduction potential.
The Commission has set out rules on the data required to monitor the CO2 emissions of new vans. The Member States are required to deliver this data from 2012 onwards.
The Commission's legislative proposal for implementing the 147 g/km target includes the following provisions: