The European Commission will propose that the European Union toughen CO emisiones emission limits for passenger cars by 2030 . The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced this Wednesday a new proposal for the reduction of CO₂ emissions in the European Union by 2030, which will be “at least 55%” instead of 40% set so far, relative to 1990 levels.
On the one hand, these new limits could put the automotive industry against the ropes in terms of its business model. And on the other hand it could lead us to rethink the concept of car ownership , at least in large cities.
According to the Commission proposal, by 2030, the average CO₂ emissions of new cars should be 50% below the 2021 levels. The current European Union plan foresees a reduction of 37.5% by 2030.
In somewhat more concrete terms, this means that on a 50% basis, the 2030 target is for the average CO₂ emissions of cars sold in Europe to be 47.5 g / km and not 59.37 g / km as currently planned. In just 10 years, the 95 g / km average would have to be cut in half.
The German Automobile Manufacturers Association (VDA) said it would firmly reject further tightening of the targets, the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung first reported . At the moment it is a draft, but if approved, it would imply at a technical level that the vast majority of car manufacturers should stop making cars with gasoline or diesel engines .
The end of the gasoline and diesel car
Some emissions of 47.5 g / km means a maximum average consumption of 2.0 l / 100 km on a car petrol and 1.7 l / 100 km diesel. In comparison, the current proposal of 59.37 g / km assumes an average consumption of almost 2.6 l / 100 km for gasoline and 2.2 l / 100 km for diesel.
In Europe, the WLTP homologation cycle prevails and under that prism there are no 36 solutions to achieve this emissions goal. In fact, there are only two solutions: electric car and plug-in hybrid car.
Locally, the electric car has zero emissions. In reality, these depend a lot on the energy mix of the country in which it is recharged. For example, in Spain, France or Portugal, the energy mix is below the average emissions. If we go to Poland, it almost costs more to circulate with a current diesel than with an electric one.
As for the plug-in hybrid car, it seems destined to prevail . Currently, there are already models that homologate an average consumption of 2 l / 100 km and emissions of 46 g / km, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, or even less, such as the Renault Captur E-Tech , which certifies 1.5 l / 100 km and 35 g / km.
Plug-in hybrids at an affordable price
The problem that manufacturers will then face is that of proposing affordable cars that meet this standard. In Spain, according to data from the Tax Agency, 1.3 million cars were registered in 2019, of which just over 940,000 of those cars cost less than 20,000 euros. Currently, the Kia Ceed Tourer PHEV is the cheapest plug- in hybrid on the market and already costs 29,000 euros …
The challenge will be to propose cars priced below 20,000 euros. If it is not achieved and it is not worth paying the fines, it will mean that many manufacturers will find themselves with a production overcapacity. With the advancement of technology and increasing demand, there is no doubt that the price of batteries will continue to decline.
For example, in 2010, the median price of a battery was over $ 1,000 per kWh, while in 2019 it was $ 150 per kWh . In other words, within 10 years it is feasible that we will have plug-in hybrids below 20,000 euros.
However, where it can be a problem is for the most affordable models, those of less than 15,000 euros. The small car segment is disappearing and with these emission levels it will be almost impossible to see a 10,000 euro car that meets the standard.
Plug-in hybrids sleeping on the street?
When talking about plug-in hybrid cars, the dilemma of recharging arises in order to really take advantage of its advantages. Today, in a community garage it is legal to install a car charging point in your parking space without having to ask the community for permission, whether it is rented or owned (we explain it in detail here ). If it is rented, you will have to speak with the owner obviously, but it can be done.
The problem is for those who do not have a parking space or garage . Parking the car on the street and having to recharge it on public roads is far from ideal with an electric car, but it is feasible with a plug-in hybrid. And it is one thing to have to charge a battery of between 10 and 20 kWh (the PHEV) and quite another to have to charge one of 80 kWh or more (the electric one).
In models that accept fast charging, like the Mercedes A250e , the battery can be recharged in a relatively short time. In the case of Class A, we are talking about 25 minutes to go from 10 to 80% charge.
On the other hand, it is true that it will be a more expensive recharge than if it had been done at home or at work with a more adapted rate. As for battery degradation, if it doesn’t go over 80%, it shouldn’t be a problem in the current state of technology. Obviously it is not ideal, but it is acceptable.
However, for the most humble families, there will be no other than second hand cars. And not too old since in some cities they could be prohibited from circulating during working hours, as is already the case in several European cities, such as Barcelona or Paris.
Goodbye to car ownership
What is proposed then in a more or less veiled way, is to abandon the idea of a car owned (either in pure ownership or in leasing or renting) to opt for car sharing or shared car. Many are the manufacturers that have invested in this type of platform in anticipation of a future scenario where there will be a greater demand for this type of vehicle.
But this scenario implies a fast, effective, efficient public transport that really covers the entire territory of a large metropolitan area. And here, not all European cities are the same. In this case, the shared car would be used sporadically, not daily. Or maybe yes, everything will depend on the rates. Be that as it may, it is a reality that is already being experienced in large cities, like New York or Paris. In the latter only a third of Parisians have their own car .
Again, the most humble families will be left out of the equation. While part of the population could make the leap to using a shared car, those with fewer resources could not.
Currently, in order to use a rental car, it is usually essential to have a credit card with at least 1,000 euros available. This sum is blocked for the duration of the rental, due to franchise issues. In the case of carsharing services it is usually somewhat less (up to 495 euros in the case of Ubeeqo, for example). Not all the most humble families have this credit.