Parliament and Council agree on challenging CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles

The EU requires manufacturers of heavy-duty vehicles to reduce average carbon emissions by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The challenging level of the reduction targets was one of the most controversially discussed elements in the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council, which were concluded last night.

Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General of CLEPA, the association of automotive suppliers in the EU, comments:

“European trucks are already the most efficient in the world. While transport of goods has increased by over a third since 1995, emissions have barely risen. This shows how much pressure the market already exerts towards more efficient vehicles. It will be difficult to achieve the targets at this highly-challenging level for all actors involved.

Automotive suppliers are committed to contributing to meet the obligations under the Paris agreement. For the regulation to efficiently achieve emission reductions, an approach is necessary which looks not only at the efficiency of the vehicle tractors but also the trailers, as well as facilitating the deployment of low carbon synthetic fuel.”

The regulation on CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles is linked to VECTO, the tool for the simulation and certification of emissions of a vehicle. Only efficiency gains that can be certified by VECTO can be calculated against the emission reduction targets. Currently, the scope of VECTO is limited to the tractor and a limited number of drivetrain technologies. It is only once the tool is upgraded to take into account efficiency gains from hybridisation and more efficient components for trailers, that the associated potential to reduce emissions will be unlocked. “A comprehensive, swift, and regular upgrade of VECTO will be a key criterion for success and bring the ambitious targets of the regulation closer within reach. The Commission is tasked to deliver,” says de Vries.

The agreement confirms, until 2025, the “super credit” system as a positive incentive for the deployment of zero- and low-emission vehicles, rewarding manufacturers starting from the very first zero- or low-emission vehicle placed on the market. And, from 2025 onwards, a minimum sales quota of 2% for zero- and low-emission vehicles will replace of the super credit. De Vries commented: “Automotive suppliers support the principle choice for a positive incentive system to pull new technologies into the market.”

Furthermore, Council and Parliament agreed on a differentiation of the definition of low-emission vehicles per vehicle sub-group. This is expected to facilitate the development of low-emission vehicles across the entire fleet, says de Vries: “It is important to push for the development of low-emission vehicles in long-haul transport. Given the high mileage in this segment, the potential for reduction of emissions is substantial.”

Similar to the regulation for cars and vans, the Commission is required to assess the feasibility of developing a methodology to assess heavy-duty vehicle emissions over the entire life-cycle. De Vries: “Automotive suppliers have always supported the step forward to well-to-wheel or life-cycle analysis, which should help levelling the playing field for different drivetrain technologies and take into account emissions embedded in energy production.”

The European Parliament and Council will review and formally approve the agreement in the coming weeks. Further changes to the substance are not expected.

Note to the editor:

CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, represents over 3.000 companies supplying state-of-the-art components and innovative technology for safe, smart and sustainable mobility, investing over 20 billion euros yearly in research and development. Automotive suppliers in Europe employ nearly five million people across the continent.


For more information, please contact:

CLEPA- Pilar Perez (



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