European strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles

The aim of this strategy is to encourage the development and eventual widespread use of clean and energy efficient vehicles and to help the European car industry to strengthen its leading role globally basing its production on clean and energy-efficient technologies that will serve as building blocks for the future worldwide mobility system.

What is more, the “CO2 and cars” working group of the second European Climate Change Programme (ECCP II), EC main instrument to discuss and prepare the further development of the EU's climate policy, has identified eco-innovations as a key solution to reducing emissions from cars, and incentive for the automotive industry to invest in them.

The strategy has been integrated into the recently-adopted 2011 White Paper on Transport that defines a roadmap for improving the efficiency and environmental impact of the transport sector. This contains an Action Plan composed of 40 concrete measures to be implemented by the European Commission, including the introduction of advanced traffic management systems, the creation of a Single European Transport Area to promote multimodal transport, smart pricing and efficiency standards for all vehicles across all modes as well as other measures to promote technological innovation.

This initiative builds on the European Green Cars Initiative, which was launched in 2008 as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan, to promote “smart investments” through private-public partnerships in green technologies. The European Green Cars Initiative provides financial support (through FP7 or loans from the European Investment Bank) to research into the green technologies that will propel our cars, trucks and buses in the near future.

In addition, the CARS 21 (Competitive Automotive Regulatory System for the 21st century) process, initially launched in 2005, was re-launched in October 2010 to develop a common action plan and a vision for "a competitive European automotive industry and sustainable mobility and growth in 2020 and beyond." This will contribute to the EU strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, Europe 2020, to the flagship initiatives on resource efficiency and industrial policy and to the EU strategy for clean and energy efficient vehicles.

Finally, the Directive on the Promotion of Clean and Energy Efficient Road Transport Vehicles (DIRECTIVE 2009/33/EC) aims at a broad market introduction of environmentally-friendly vehicles. It requires that all purchases of vehicles for public transport services take into account energy consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions over their whole lifetime. The EC has also launched a dedicated website to facilitate the implementation of the Directive: the Clean Vehicle Portal is designed to give a detailed and comparable overview of the range of clean vehicles available on the market and classify them according to their life cycle costs. The portal gives an overview of existing procurement rules and incentive schemes for clean and energy-efficient vehicles on EU level and in the different Member States.