The EU (remember them) are hoping they can force van makers to make big cuts in the amounts of CO2 produced by light commercial vehicles and have announced the targets they have in mind.
The EU, say it wants to see an average CO2 figure of 175g/km and an average fuel consumption figure of 42.8mpg by 2014.
These are pretty substantial demands, particularly at a time of recession, where motor manufacturers don’t have the money to invest in new products, let alone new products with these kinds of restrictions, requiring an even greater investment.
It’s not a 5 minute job to develop new product and vans take longer to develop than cars, so these plans have been described as unrealistic by many.
Vans are crucially important to our economy, yet many small businesses are still struggling to survive and will find it hard to pay the higher prices for the vans they buy, to fund these new developments and so whilst it’s easy to say, no time is the right time, clearly at the moment it certainly isn’t the best time.
Will it happen, yes, of course it will. I have been continually impressed with our car manufacturing industry who have made enormous efforts in the area of reducing emissions over the last 5 years or so and whilst vans have their special and unique issues (they carry a load), and their engines develop there power differently, I am certain the industry will rise to the challenge, although the end user might well have to dig a bit deeper to buy one of these vans, as developments of this nature, don’t come cheap.
It’s ironic however that it was the EU that caused the publication of van CO2 figures to be shelved in December 2007, after our very own DFT were all ready to go, as were the van makers. The EU, it seems couldn’t agree on a format or style in how the data should be published, and so it went onto the back burner and that’s where it’s been sitting for the last 2 years.
Had the EU sorted its act out over this, everyone would have been aware of the emissions vans produce, up to 2 years ago and clearly businesses would have already been voting with their feet and buying the vans that produce the lowest emissions and best MPG, putting pressure on van makers to reduce CO2 and increases MPG, just to compete. We would have already been 2 years down the road and on our way to achieving the targets they are now aspiring to, good old EU!