The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) has published reports the past six years detailing emissions reductions in the European auto industry. The latest report entitled 2011 Cars & CO2 Report: How Clean Are Europe’s Cars? concludes that automakers in Europe have trimmed carbon emissions by 3.7% compared to 2009 models. The winner in terms of emissions reductions was Volvo Cars with a fleet reduction of 9% from 2009 to 2010. T&E focuses on tailpipe emissions and carbon footprint measured in real-world situations without factoring weight into their analysis.
2011 Cars & CO2 Report analyzed leading automakers by percentage reduction, average emissions and proximity to EU emissions targets. Volvo’s 9% reduction topped the chart with a handful of automakers falling in a range from 2% to 6%. T&E found that Mazda and Honda actually saw increases in their fleet emissions from the 2009 model year. The average vehicle emissions list was led by Fiat (126g/km), Toyota (129g/km) and Peugeot (131g/km). EU emissions standards require average emissions of 130 g/km for each company’s fleet by 2015 with slight variations based on vehicle weight. The report found that Toyota had nearly achieved the 2015 emissions goal last year while Volvo was among the furthest from their goal with an 8% gap to fill.
The success of Volvo Cars in the past year emerged from a focus on clean diesel technology popular among European consumers. The automaker’s V50 DRIVe achieved an emissions level of 99g/km and the V70 DRIVe 119g/km through efficient drive systems. Volvo is currently working on more substantial hybrids and all-electric vehicles though the DRIVe line is Volvo’s strategy for the foreseeable future. The T&E report is likely celebrated within Volvo’s research and management teams though the results show that Volvo had a long way to go before 2010.
T&E’s research seems positive on the whole though the details are disconcerting for automakers that must meet EU guidelines by 2015. Toyota, Peugeot and Fiat represent the only automakers in Europe of the top 15 companies within 5% of the 2015 EU emissions standard. Automakers have pushed hybrid, diesel and alt-fuel vehicles to the fore in the past two years. The questions that remain are whether automakers can introduce more efficient vehicles by 2015 and how emissions can be cut quickly in poor economic circumstances. European corporations and governments may need to invest heavily in eco-friendly vehicles over the next four years to push automakers to expedite green vehicle technology.