The European Union is keen to see the end of the internal combustion engine, which is really interesting considering that the European manufacturers are behind the eight ball when it comes to electric vehicles.
In October MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) voted to increase the reduction of carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. The original agreement was to reduce them by 20% by 2025 and then the EU civil servants suggested 30% by 2030. The MEPs though, had other ideas – they pushed the figure up!
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) are concerned that this new plan is too tight for them to meet. If you consider the current state of technological progress, one would think that it would be feasible. To cap it, Denmark has announced that it will ban fossil fuel powered by 2030 as well, joining several major cities in this regard and so there is an impetus for the manufacturers to take a leap forward.
The ACEA is very worried about jobs – and considering that the issues around diesel emissions were hushed up by the German Government because the VW Group didn’t want to lose sales and therefore employees, the ACEA is doing what it is supposed to do, however it’s a bit rich to complain when everyone was shielding jobs knowing what was going on. The Government knew very well what they were doing with the emissions tests because they were told several times by independent researchers.
The ACEA should refocus and encourage the European manufacturers to concentrate on better hybrids and pure electric vehicles. A theoretical solution is to reduce the size of the internal combustion engine down to below one litre and have electric motors powering the other end of the vehicle. That might be a lot harder in practice, however it is an idea that would dramatically help to reduce emissions. Importantly, it would be a step change towards full electric power with high power and longer ranges.
The carbon emissions reduction isn’t just from vehicles, so each country needs to rethink how its citizens use the available energy and where that energy comes from. Some countries are still based on coal-fired power stations which provide the electricity for most homes and electric cars. Part of the latest changes is that the EU has to work towards 27% of its energy production from renewable sources.
Perhaps this will push the European design boffins to develop technology to beat the Chinese manufacturers at their own game.