CO2 emissions from cars
Legislation hinders development of lighter cars, says EAA
By Anne Eckstein | Tuesday 10 April 2012
According to the European Aluminium Association (EAA), CO
2emissions from cars should be calculated on the basis of the vehicle’s footprint (track width x wheelbase). Noting that vehicles could be made lighter (and their CO
2emissions reduced) through greater use of aluminium, the association argues that EU legislation on CO
2emissions does not encourage lighter weight vehicles since it gives precedence to other emissions-reduction options.
MORE ALUMINIUM USED
According to a study conducted by Ducker Worldwide in cooperation with the EAA, the amount of aluminium used per car manufactured in Europe almost tripled between 1990 and 2012, rising from 50 kg to 140 kg. This amount could be increased by another 40 kg by 2020 if light weight vehicles were further encouraged. “The 140 kg of aluminium per car produced today is way below what could be achieved,” explains Bernard Gilmont, building and transport director at the EAA.
He claims that Regulation 443/2009
(1)on reducing CO
2emissions from light-duty vehicles gives priority to other CO
“As long as this provision continues, light-weighting of cars will not deliver its full potential,” notes Gilmont, adding that “the 2009 regulation is clearly discriminatory”.The calculation method used under the EU regulation is based on mass, which is advantageous to heavier vehicles that emit more CO
2, despite the fact that making vehicles lighter is one of the most straightforward solutions to reduce their fuel consumption.
The EAA estimates that maximum use of aluminium could cut total vehicle weight by one third and the weight of car bodies alone by 40%, which would significantly reduce fuel consumption and consequently CO
2emissions. For example, the average aluminium content (140 kg) in the 17 million cars produced in 2012 will result in annual fuel savings of 65 litres per car, thereby avoiding roughly 43 million tonnes of CO
2emissions over the lifespan of the vehicles.“The current system clearly discriminates against light-weighting compared to other CO
2reductiomeasures,” notes Gilmont.
TOUGHER TARGET FOR LIGHT VEHICULES
The EAA explains that if a vehicle manufacturer wishes to reduce CO
2emissions from a vehicle that currently emits more than allowed by the mass-based calculation used in the regulation, it can obtain the same CO
2reduction either by cutting weight or by improving engine efficiency.While the latter option allows the manufacturer to meet its mass target, the result is not the same with the weight-saving option, because the target is tougher for lighter vehicles.“This clearly discourages the production of lighter vehicles and is not technologically neutral,” observes the EEA. The association calls for the choice of producing lighter vehicles to be rewarded equitably as part of the review of Regulation EC 443/2009 now underway. The solution proposed by the EAA would be to give manufacturers the option to have their emissions target calculated on the basis of vehicle footprint: atechnology-neutral and less costly choice.
The association argues that EU legislation on CO
2emissions does not encourage lighter weight vehicles since it gives precedence to other emissions-reduction options
(1) Regulation EC 443/2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community’s integrated approach to reduce CO
2emissions from light-duty vehicles