Transport & Environment, an advocacy group, had backed an interim target in 2027 and deeper emissions cuts in 2030, arguing it would speed up adoption of electric vehicles and cut costs. Jan Huitema, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, had sponsored an amendment for a 75% reduction by 2030.
But the tougher targets are meeting resistance from some member states, mostly from the eastern bloc, who have expressed concerns about the lack of infrastructure and the high cost of electric vehicles.
The committee narrowly rejected those plans by a vote of 46 to 40 with two abstentions. The provisions – first proposed in July 2021 – will be formally adopted in June and then serve as the basis for negotiations with EU governments on the final form of the legislation, the EU announced on Wednesday.
Transport & Environment welcomed the proposed tougher 2025 target, saying it would help boost sales of electric vehicles, but called it insufficient on its own.
“The electric vehicle boom will falter over the next 10 years unless lawmakers step in with an intermediate target in 2027 and a more ambitious target in 2030,” said Alex Keynes, clean vehicles manager at Transport & Environment, in a statement this week. “Without this, Europe may not sell enough zero-emission cars to meet its own 2030 targets as well as those of many EU countries,” he added.
Fully electric cars accounted for 9.1% of European sales in 2021, up from 1.9% in 2019. New EU emissions directives would mean electric vehicles are expected to account for more than 50% of new car sales in 2030, according to the analysts.
But some auto executives, including Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, said rising raw material prices and other costs could threaten that rate of growth. Additionally, there have been concerns that much of Europe, especially poorer countries, lacks charging station infrastructure.
The EU said in 2021 that it preferred to set targets in five-year increments and that the targets were sufficient to increase demand for electric vehicles.
Prior to the Fit for 55 guidelines, automakers had called for increased charging station infrastructure requirements – which the EU has already signaled it would consider – as well as a review of emissions targets post-2030 in 2028.
ACEA, the lobby group for European automakers, said the proposed tightening of the 2025 target would put its members under increased pressure over time and the 15% cut should remain unchanged.
“The suggested change to the upcoming 2025 target simply would not allow enough time to adapt due to vehicle development and production cycles,” an ACEA spokesperson said. “There are less than three years left until 2025, assuming that a final agreement on CO2 targets can be achieved this year.”