Serious CO2 targets needed for more clean cars to reach consumers, research shows

PRESS RELEASE - 06.11.2017

This week, the European Commission will issue a proposal on new CO2 targets for passenger cars. 1 shows that ambitious CO2 targets are needed to increase the numbers of electric vehicles on our roads in the 2020s.


During the 2010s, there has been a slow but steady rise in the availability of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles across Europe. The EU’s 2021 CO2 emission standards for cars have been hugely important for this market development.

But there is still a major gap: research shows there are still fewer than 50 models of cleaner cars on the market. This contrasts with a market of 400+ petrol and diesel vehicles2.

In addition, current sales practices undermine the real-world availability of electric vehicles, making it difficult for consumers to opt for them. This is for example due to higher sales margins on diesel/petrol cars or a lack of electric vehicles displayed at dealerships.

As the EU sets CO2 emission targets for the next decade, it ought to tackle this massive difference and set the right market rules, including:

  • New CO2 targets of 75g CO2 per/km for new car sales for 2025, and 50g CO2/km by 2030.
  • A binding market share for electric vehicles.
  • Developing a real-world test on CO2 emissions to be used during a car’s type approval procedure, which will allow effective enforcement of the above targets.

Monique Goyens, BEUC Director General, commented:

“Clean car technologies need a push to become a mass market phenomenon. For this we need a smart legislative system that sets the right level of ambition and increases consumer choice.

“Today’s research shows that there is simply not enough choice in the electric vehicle market. Which is a pity, as access to clean cars will allow consumers to save money and better protect the environment and their health.

“The EU is on the cusp of deciding what lane the automotive sector takes for the next decade. Electric vehicles are expected to be cheaper than conventional cars in the 2020s, which is why ambition is needed to speed up their roll-out. This must take the form of robust EU CO2 emissions standards that will cut emissions and the cost of driving for consumers.”



1 This study was commissioned to consultancy

2 Transport & Environment (2017)