Vans currently sold in EU markets are outstripping an EU emissions target for 2017, and the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned manufacturers to take action over the problem.
An average van used in Europe produces about 180.3g of CO2 per kilometre. The limit outlined for 2017, however, only allows 175g, and is expected to be further decreased by 2020 to 147g.
This means that van manufacturers will have to reduce emissions of their vehicles by 18.5 per cent across those years to keep to the target.
“To cut emissions significantly, manufacturers will need to improve the technology of their vehicles and sell more efficient models. The good news is that there is huge potential for using new technologies which are well-suited to the way vans are used, including electric or hybrid vehicle technology,” said the EEA’s executive director Hans Bruyninckx.
The EEA has recently compiled information from EU member states that are, according to a 2011 legislation, obliged to report numbers of vehicles sold each year together with limits set out for every manufacturer based on the average mass of its vehicles.
Out of 1.1 million vans newly registered in the EU, 97 per cent are powered by diesel engines while only a little over 1 per cent uses liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or natural gas (LNG). According to EEA, the room for improvement of the overall emission targets certainly exists as the LPG and LNG powered vehicles currently have on average 10 to 15 per cent lower emissions than diesel vans.
Introducing more electric vans would reduce the emissions even more as they emit zero exhaust fumes. Currently, they make up only 0.5 per cent of the European van fleet. The EEA says that electric vans have a fairly good potential for urban deliveries and short-haul trips.
The least polluting vans have been sold in Cyprus, whereas Slovakia took the first spot at the opposite end of the scale, with emission on average 43 per cent higher per van sold in the country.
The biggest van markets in the EU, however, are France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, who together make up three quarters of the 1.1 million new vehicles sold in the EU since 2011.