Automotive CO2 Emissions Standard to track industry improvements

The automotive industry-led voluntary CO2 Emissions Standard has been reported for the first time, setting a benchmark for future improvement and showing that the industry is making progress towards its 2030 targets.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) CEO Tony Weber said the first report was a significant step for the automotive sector in tracking its rate of supporting emissions reduction.

“The global automotive industry is focusing its R&D programs on the challenging task of improving CO2 outcomes for the benefit of the environment and society and new, low-emission vehicles are regularly brought to market to meet increasing consumer demand across the world,” said Weber.

“The introduction of these new low-emission vehicles is also driven by challenging emissions targets introduced in many countries. These targets play a major role in shaping the purchasing behaviour of customers and attracting the most advanced vehicles into market.”

According to Weber, car makers will prioritise vehicles for markets where there is customer demand driven by a clear direction and commitment to emissions reduction.

“Clear and consistent direction from governments is a critical signal to car makers who will respond by doing what they do best – and that is, bring the latest, safest and most fuel-efficient vehicles to customers,” he said.

“To support this emissions reduction challenge, the FCAI would be pleased if the Federal Government adopted the FCAI Voluntary Standard as a part of the ambition to reduce emissions in the transport sector.”

The industry has set two targets – MA Category (Passenger Cars and Light SUVs) and MC+NA Category (Heavy SUVs and Light Commercial Vehicles) based on annual new vehicle sales.

The MA outcome for 2020 was 150 gCO2/km (grams of CO2 for every kilometre travelled) and the MC+NA outcome for 2020 was 218 gCO2/km.

The outcomes are against a target of 154 g CO2/km for MA and 197 g CO2/km for MC+NA.

Commenting on the results, Weber acknowledged that the passenger car and light SUV segment performed slightly ahead of expectations, while the result for heavy SUVs and light commercial vehicles was behind the voluntary target set.

He said there are at least three major challenges ahead.

“First, the CO2 results for 2020 reflect the type of vehicles Australians are choosing to drive, with sales of SUVs and light commercial vehicles regularly now more than 50 per cent of new vehicle sales every month.

“The fuel efficiency of these larger vehicles is improving with each new model release, however, the nature of the market and customer preferences need to be considered when comparing Australia’s emissions result with other countries,” said Weber.

“Second, the model development cycle for new vehicles can range from five to ten years depending on the type of vehicle so the emissions reduction will continue to improve as

the latest technologies arrive on our shores,” he said – adding that any expectation that emissions will decline rapidly over one or two years is unrealistic.

Weber’s final point was that Australia’s fuel is among the lowest quality in the world.

“We urge the Federal Government to accelerate the improvement of fuel quality standards for Australia’s market fuels, as this will enable the introduction of more of the fuel-efficient vehicle technologies already on the roads overseas,” he said.

In the period ahead to 2030, the industry is targeting respective annual reductions for MA and MC+NA of 4.0 per cent and 3.0 per cent.

It is estimated that MA vehicles will, on average, have CO2 emissions under 100 gCO2/km and MC+NA vehicles under 145 gCO2/km by 2030.

The data provides an overall result for the passenger, SUV and light commercial automotive sector.

The performance of the individual brands will be released in early April.

(Image: Tony Weber, FCAI CEO).

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