Carmakers face billions in European CO2 fines from 2021: study

September 22, 2017
Bigger cars could mean bigger fines as automakers fail to meet new emissions standards

Big-name carmakers including Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler face fines running into the billions for failure to meet tough new European carbon dioxide emissions limits slated for 2021, a study has found.

"Only four out of 11 carmakers are forecast to meet the EU 2021 CO2 target, with the rest facing significant fines," researchers from British firm PA Consulting said in a statement Friday.

European Union nations agreed in 2014 that carmakers should limit CO2 emissions to 95 grammes per kilometre across their entire model range within seven years.

The figure for 2015 stood at some 130 grammes per kilometre on average.

If the target is not met, the groups must pay fines of 95 euros ($114) per gramme over the limit, multiplied by the number of cars they sell in 2020.

"Most carmakers will face penalties," especially German manufacturers which often offer larger, more polluting engines, the study authors forecast.

"There is nothing less than a revolution facing the car industry and those manufacturers who fail to keep up face potential fines in the billions," PA auto expert Thomas Goettle said.

Germany's BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, US-based Ford, Italian-American Chrysler, France's PSA and South Korea's Hyundai will be unable to get their emissions under control by the deadline, according to the study.

The pill will be especially bitter for Peugeot parent company PSA, which will only miss its targets because of its recent purchase of Germany's Opel from General Motors.

As the world's largest and owner of Audi and Porsche, Volkswagen could suffer a 1.7-billion-euro penalty, while Brussels' bill for Fiat Chrysler could reach 1.2 billion, the forecasts suggest.

Sweden's Volvo, Japan's Toyota, Franco-Japanese Renault-Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover are all predicted to meet CO2 targets.

German carmakers have announced a flood of electric models for the coming years as emissions scandals have tarnished the image of diesel, which they had bet on to reduce the CO2 toll.

But the new technology will arrive too late on the market to spare the firms from hefty bills in 2021.

Explore further: Main carmakers seen on track for EU's 2015 CO2 target

Related Stories

Renault targeted in new 'dieselgate' scandal

January 13, 2017

A year and a half after Volkswagen's "dieselgate" erupted, Paris prosecutors are probing Renault over possible "cheating" in diesel emissions, sending the carmaker's shares sliding on the stock exchange.

IAA car show displays industry in throes of reinvention

September 12, 2017

Automakers meet for the biennial Frankfurt car show (IAA) Tuesday, radiating confidence even as they face tougher environmental rules, a rush of pricey new technologies and major players leaving empty seats.

France to probe Fiat for emissions cheating

March 21, 2017

French investigating magistrates will open a probe into carmaker Fiat Chrysler for suspected cheating in diesel emissions tests, judicial sources said on Tuesday.

Italy under pressure over regulation of Fiat Chrysler

January 13, 2017

Italy has come under pressure over how it regulates Fiat Chrysler, which Germany and the U.S. accuse of using software that can allow some diesel engines to emit more pollution than legally permitted.

Recommended for you

Can China keep it's climate promises?

March 26, 2019

China can easily meet its Paris climate pledge to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but sourcing 20 percent of its energy needs from renewables and nuclear power by that date may be considerably harder, researchers ...

In the Tree of Life, youth has its advantages

March 26, 2019

It's a question that has captivated naturalists for centuries: Why have some groups of organisms enjoyed incredibly diversity—like fish, birds, insects—while others have contained only a few species—like humans.

Cellular microRNA detection with miRacles

March 26, 2019

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding regulatory RNAs that can repress gene expression post-transcriptionally and are therefore increasingly used as biomarkers of disease. Detecting miRNAs can be arduous and expensive as ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2017
95 gCO2/km translates to 4.09 L/100km or 58 MPG-US, 69 MPG-UK. In terms of energy, 4.09 liters of common gasoline is 35.8 kWh

A fairly efficient modern engine can convert 30% of the energy to motive power, which gives you 11 kWh. If we're assuming the car is running along at 63 mph (100 kph) then the average engine power output must not exceed 15 HP

So basically, the European regulations are mandating that conventional cars have to be built barely more powerful than a lawnmower or a weedwhacker. These are moped figures they're talking about. That's the source of this issue, not the car manufacturers themselves - they can't just beat physics into submission while the politicians and their voters clearly think they can.

3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2017
To make the point even clearer, not even electric cars manage to go along with just 11 kWh of energy per 100 km. A Nissan Leaf averages at 21 kWh/100 km and a Tesla Model S does 24 kWh/100km.

The electric cars are top of the line in aerodynamic efficiency because they have to conserve their limited battery capacity, so they have ultra-low drag bodies and skinny low rolling resistance tires as a matter of course. The lower the energy demand, the longer you go on a charge.

That just goes to show that the regulations are demanding almost double the economy out of conventional cars, which can't be done without some serious compromizes.

Now the problem is, without any good means to displace gasoline engines out of the market, what with the diesel scandal and all, the fines on the auto-industry are just going to be foisted on the consumers who have to buy these vehicles for a lack of affordable alternatives anyways, so the whole regulation backfires on itself.
3 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2017
Big-name carmakers including Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler face fines running into the billions for failure to meet tough new European carbon dioxide emissions limits slated for 2021

Good. Hit em and hit em hard until they learn.

German carmakers have announced a flood of electric models for the coming years

Yeah...they've been pulling Trumps for years "just you's gonna be awesome"...and then: nothing.
1 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2017
It seems to be a distraction to hide their trillion-euro defeat in the fight against Climate Change.
Faux-green countries have failed miserably in reducing CO2 emissions and now are blaming the carmarkers instead of assuming that they have bet on the wrong horse(intermittent renewables) to curb CO2 emissions.
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2017
Good. Hit em and hit em hard until they learn.

What exactly do you want them to learn?

The regulations are asking them to do the impossible, so what's the punishment supposed to accomplish? Electric cars for everyone?

Yeah...they've been pulling Trumps for years "just you's gonna be awesome"...and then: nothing.

That's because they're not willing to push substandard technology at superstandard prices like Tesla who gets away with it by selling to a small upmarket niche; the technology is not yet ready for the large mass market, they don't have the capacity to make the battery cells, and there's nothing they can do about it.

The European manufacturers, and GM, are waiting for the NMC type battery cell prices to drop, because they offer better durability with improved safety over the NCA cells that Tesla uses. When you sell tens of millions of cars, you can't afford even a single percentage point of them spontaenously going up in flames.
3 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2017
Mind you, hybrid cars pass the regulations because they're allowed to run the battery empty during the fuel economy cycle test. 1 kWh - enough to fill a standard 12 Volt battery - displaces 0.34 liters of fuel and because the test is only 11 km long in totality, it's theoretically possible to run the entire distance on just the battery even in a modest hybrid car.

The only thing limiting the hybrid car manufacturers is the fact that they aren't allowed to reprogram the ECU for the test, but as with the diesel scandal, it's easy to make a program that saves fuel for the first 5-10 km before turning the engine on full. They can choose how much fuel the car consumes in the tests.

That's the reason why companies like Volvo announced that they will make all their future models "electric". They'll be making mild hybrids to beat the EU emission regulations by beating the tests rather than actually providing better fuel economy.
3 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2017
In the end, the carmakers will do nothing. They will announce EV and plug-in hybrid models for public relations reasons, but they won't put any effort into actually selling them:
developing new low-CO2 cars will cost German car makers 114 billion Euros by 2020. Due to intense competition in the automotive field, manufacturers will not be able to pass this on to consumers.

In comparison, the €1-2 billion penalties faced by the individual automakers are nothing. It's simply cheaper to break the law rather than comply. This means the consumers will pay for nothing.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.