Daimler and VW are clearly missing their CO2 targets

Other car manufacturers have managed to reduce the CO2 emissions of new cars below the limit value. VW and Daimler are still clearly lagging behind. You are now facing heavy penalties.

Increasing sales of electric cars is essential for car manufacturers in order to comply with emissions standards.

Dhe pitch has changed. The Association of the German Auto Industry continues to warn against the industry being overwhelmed by excessively strict climate targets. The Volkswagen Group, however, called it “basically feasible” when EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed tightening the EU’s CO2 savings target for 2030 to 55 percent. The group is working flat out to give itself a green image. Daimler also wants to reinvent itself and increase the share of electric cars in sales to 50 percent by 2030.

First of all, the corporations have to comply with the current CO2 limit values. On average in the EU, emissions from new cars in 2020 and 2021 may not exceed 95 grams per kilometer – with each manufacturer having to make a different contribution. As a study by the Climate Association “Transport & Environment” shows, which is due to be presented this Monday, the German manufacturers in particular, with the exception of BMW, are in danger of clearly missing their fleet targets. The study is available to this newspaper. Of all people, VW and Daimler are doing particularly badly. Only Jaguar is further away from its target based on sales in the first half of the year. For Daimler the gap is 9 grams per kilometer, for Volkswagen it is 5 grams.

VW and Daimler are threatening billions in fines despite the decline in sales in the Corona crisis. For every gram too much, 95 euros per vehicle are incurred. If Volkswagen does not catch up, the group would have to pay more than 1 billion euros in 2020. For Daimler it would be half a billion euros. Both groups still benefit from the fact that in 2020 the 5 percent of the fleet with the highest CO2 emissions will not be taken into account. This no longer applies to 2021, which increases the gap for Daimler by 6 grams and for VW by 4 grams. Other manufacturers do much better. The French PSA group, which includes Peugeot, Citroën and Opel, has exceeded its fleet target by 3 grams. Volvo and Fiat-Chrysler, which benefits greatly from its collaboration with Tesla, have also achieved their goals. BMW is only 0.3 grams away from it.

CO2 targets are quite achievable

Despite Volkswagen and Daimler, the overall picture is surprisingly positive. Not so long ago, car salesmen warned that the targets for 2020 were impossible to achieve. Experts reckoned penalties in the tens of billions. For VW alone, they estimated 4.5 billion euros for 2021.

In fact, after a multi-year increase, the CO2 emissions of new cars fell to an average of 111.2 grams in the first half of this year. In 2019 it was 122.4 grams. There has never been such a sharp decrease. The main reason for this is the increase in sales of electric cars – funded by Corona economic programs, write the authors of the study. Their share of sales in the EU will increase from 3 percent to up to 10 percent in 2020 and to 14 percent in 2021.

VW and Daimler can still achieve their goals. VW should benefit from its new electric vehicles like the ID.3 and ID.4. According to the study, Daimler could make up a large part of its gap by selling more plug-in hybrids of the E-Class, C-Class or A-Class, whose sales have increased significantly. The group could also merge its output with those of other manufacturers such as Volvo or PSA, which exceed their targets, but would of course have to pay for it. The EU rules allow such “pools”.

Climate protectors warn against plug-in hybrids

“The car manufacturers are on track to achieve their 2020 targets and avoid fines,” emphasizes Stef Cornelis, Germany Director of Transport & Environment. The emission standards would bring more electric cars at ever better prices for German drivers. If the CO2 requirements are not tightened further, the share of electric vehicles in sales will only increase to 20 percent within the next four years, warn the climate protectionists. Another problem is that half of all electric vehicles sold are “fake” plug-in hybrids that are rarely charged. The EU must set the end date for the sale of internal combustion engines and such plug-in hybrids by 2035 at the latest.

The European Commission wants to present proposals by summer 2021 on how it wants to reduce emissions in the transport sector by 2030. One option is to tighten the limit values ​​for new vehicles. There is talk of a 50 percent cut compared to the current 95 grams, but manufacturers have had to cut emissions by 37.5 percent so far.