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Clean Vehicles Directive final talks - what does it mean for cities?

12 February 2019

On Tuesday 11 February, the EU reached a provisional agreement on new rules for the public procurement of clean vehicles in the second trilogue of the Clean Vehicles Directive. The Directive sets out national minimum public procurement targets for clean and zero emission vehicles. The deal is now pending final endorsement by the Council and European Parliament and would have to be transposed into national legislation in 24 months.

With C40 cities pledging to purchase only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensuring a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030, this law is coming at the right time but is perhaps too pragmatic if even modest in its ambitions. The national public procurement targets for buses will range from 24% to 45% in 2025, and from 33% and 66% in 2030 – depending on a country’s population and GDP. Half of these targets will have to be achieved by procuring zero-emission buses, which means that in Germany and Sweden, for example, almost a quarter of new public buses should be zero emissions by 2025.

For trucks, the targets are much lower ranging from 6% to 10% by 2025 and from 7% to 15% by 2030.  The public procurement share for cars and vans was set between 18.7% and 38.5% and after 2025, only zero-emissions vehicles would count towards the targets. Regarding the scope, mail and parcel deliveries have been added to the scope but there are no targets for mopeds or any L category vehicles.

This law is a clear signal to OEMs to deliver electric buses in sufficient quantity and quality, and at reasonable costs. For local authorities, this is an opportunity to renew their municipal fleet and consider calling for funding programmes for electric buses similar to the Germany case where €100 million annual funding is allocated to e-buses.

The moment is also opportune as the European Commission has published in Januray the Green Public Procurement criteria for road transport services. Contracting authorities can for example include the following criteria in their tendering procedures:

– type-approval CO2emissions for cars and LCVs, and specific technologies for heavy duty vehicles and L-category vehicles;
– criteria based on air pollutant emissions performance for cars and LCVs, and specific technologies for heavy duty vehicles and L-category vehicles;
– rolling resistance of tyres;
– energy efficiency for electric cars and LCVs;
– battery warranties;
– criteria on vehicle and tyres noise emissions;
– require key competences and the application of key environmental management measures and practices from service providers;
– require adequate and frequent training for the staff of service providers;
– require criteria on tyres and lubricants for maintenance activities.

The final EU GPP criteria for road transport are published as a Staff Working Document and are available at the following link.

Polis would like to stress that clean and zero emission buses are essential for a healthy and competitive public transport system. However, local and regional authorities should make the investment justified and complement this with other measures that can improve ridership such as creating the space necessary for the prioritization of public transport (dedicated bus lanes), expanded lines and real-time-traffic information available for travellers.