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Industrial competitiveness

Clean vehicles and vessels

The task force proposes a list of actions, most of which have been already discussed in CARS 21 (Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st century) process and agreed by a broad group of stakeholders.

The task force is a dedicated Working Group under the CARS 2020 monitoring process, and started implementing actions in early 2013, based on the Communication on Cars 2020 (adopted on 8 November 2012), and the final report of the CARS 21 High-Level Group of June 2012, as foreseen in the Industrial policy communication.

It has met on 27 May 2013 to discuss the following topics:

  • Electric and alternative fuels vehicles;
  • Financial incentives for clean and energy efficient vehicles, and
  • Recent regulatory developments in the area of electromobility and alternative fuels.

On 6 September 2013, another meeting was held where the following items were discussed:

  • Regulated pollutants – actions to ensure air quality in Europe;
  • Fuel economy – improvements in the assessment of vehicles fuel consumption; and
  • Revision of Directive 96/53/EC on maximum weights and dimensions of road vehicles.

Certain key actions have already been completed, such as:

  1. The adoption by the Commission of an alternative fuels strategy, the Clean Power for Transport Package, on 24 January 2013. The package consists of a Communication on a European alternative fuels strategy, a Directive focusing on infrastructure and standards and an accompanying document describing an action plan for the development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in shipping. It will ensure the rollout of the necessary infrastructure to boost the uptake of clean vehicles.
  2. The adoption of standards for electric vehicles charging interface is also included in the Directive on infrastructure and standards of the Clean Power for Transport Package of 24 January 2013.
  3. There is an on-going co-operation with the EIB in order to ensure that financing for automotive research and innovation projects is available, in particular for SME’s.
  4. The European Commission published on 28 February 2013 new guidelines on how Member States should use financial incentives to best increase demand for low CO2 emission vehicles. Currently, rules on financial incentives differ across the EU, but a common framework could help facilitate the assembly of larger quantities of such vehicles, prompting lower prices for consumers. To address this issue, mandatory principles under the guidelines include non-discrimination with regard to the origin of the vehicle, the respect of EU state aid and procurement rules, and building on best practices in this domain. Member States must consider these principles in order not to violate the EU Treaty provisions, while other principles are recommended.
  5. In order to review current European public-procurement rules for the purchase of clean vehicles, and follow their proper implementation a first Report on the application of the Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles was adopted by the Commission on 18 April 2013 [COM(2013) 214 final]. It is an essential step for improving existing legislation in this field and ensuring coherent public procurement procedures in the EU when acquiring clean vehicles.

As concerns clean vessels, the task force can build up on the LeaderShip initiative, as the industrial policy for the sector is already largely directed towards greening. The LeaderShip 2020 report was adopted by all stakeholders in February 2013 and discussed by the Competition and General Affairs Council in in early summer 2013.

The new initiative contains an updated analysis of the situation in the sector with a focus on critical areas such as skills and employment, improving market access, access to finance, and research, development and innovation. Implementation has started. Important actions were a joint workshop with the EIB on the possibilities for shipping finance, the start of discussions on export credits for ships in context of the International Working Group on export credits, progress in the draft provisions for innovation aid in the State Aid Guidelines for Research, Development and Innovation and substantial progress in the preparation of a contractual Public Private Partnership “Vessels fur the Future” by the industry.

Upcoming deliverables / events:


The actions that are currently under way and should be completed or bear results by the first semester of 2014 at the latest are, in particular:

  1. The adoption of a Global Technical Regulation for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles by WP.29 in its June 27 2013 session, within the framework of UNECE. International harmonisation in this field will enable manufacturers to produce according to one set of standards while targeting several global markets.
  2. A proposal on follow-up of the PPP European Green Cars Initiative that will leverage public funding in order to increase the investment in clean technologies is currently on-going and should be ready before the end of the last semester of 2013. For the “Green Cars Initiative”, an amount of 400 million EUR was committed; for the new “Green Vehicles Initiative”, 700 million EUR have been requested.
  3. Adoption of the 01 and02 series of amendments (Battery electric vehicle safety) to UNECE Regulation No. 100 on type approval requirements for all types of electric and hybrid vehicles’ electric safety and their batteries (ECE/TRANS/WP.29/2012/102). The definition of technical requirements with respect to the safety of batteries fitted in electric vehicles is thus established for the first time at international level.
  4. The establishment of a European Skills Council in order to identify long-term trends in skills needs in the automotive industry is underway. The procedure should be completed in the course of the first semester 2014.
  5. Measures to revise emissions measurement and tackle the emission from vehicles in use are currently being drafted. A concrete proposal is foreseen for the end of 2013, which should be implemented in 2014.
  6. Work has started on the establishment of a Global Technical Regulation on Electric Vehicle Safety that is foreseen for adoption by WP.29 in 2014, within the framework of UNECE, involving the US and China. International harmonisation in this field will enable manufacturers to produce according to one set of standards while targeting several global markets.

Co-ordination of European, national and regional policies together with the actions of the industry and civil society, through the CARS 2020 monitoring exercise is currently under way and will end in the first semester of 2014.


  • Meeting of the Working Group on Trade, 26 April 2014;
  • Sherpa meeting to endorse draft final report, 25 February 2014;
  • High Level Group meeting, 5 June 2014 (to be confirmed).


Maritime affairs, Blue Growth and linked to that the implementation of Leadership 2020 are on the agenda of the Greek Presidency of the EU and preparation for the Informal Council Meeting in May has started.

On a more operational level action on implementation continues in the Sustainable Shipping Forum and its work on finance which will meet next on 26 June. The Maritime Environmental Protection Committee will meet next end of May 2014 and should take decisions on the implementation of the NOx Tier III standard and on the start of discussion on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of CO2 emissions from ships. Finally the Commission intends to adopt the new State Aid Guidelines for R&D&I with rules innovation aid for shipbuilding. Preparation of the contractual Public Private Partnership “Vessel for the Future” with its focus on the Greening of Shipping is expected to continue but in line with the general schedule of HORIZON 2020 a financing decision can only be taken at a later date.

Task force leader: Philippe Jean, Head of Unit (Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry Unit B4)
Other contact point: Luis Escobar, Legal Officer (Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry Unit B4)


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