EU Regulations Impact On EV sales


This time around there is no doubt that plug-ins are here to stay and that we are in a transition toward zero fossil fuel and even zero emission in the EU. The question now is only how fast it will go, and which solutions will be used during the transition period.

To know a bit more about what we can expect, I decided to look into the EU-regulations which will regulate the CO2-emissions with the emission limit for average new car sales in EU.  This is being set to a maximum of 95 g/km in the NEDC testing cycle, starting in 2020; to be fully implemented when 2022 ends.

Historical C02 In Europe

Historical C02 Emissions Of New Cars In Europe

  • There is a one-year phase-in period, requiring 95 percent of new car sales to comply with the target in 2020 and 100 percent from the end of 2020 onwards.

It means that for example, if the most emitting 5% of the manufacturers’ new cars averages 250 g/km, it will add up to a total of 102.75 g/km instead of 95 g/km during the phase-in year of 2020.

  • If a manufacturer fails to reach their target it will have to pay €95 per excess gram per registered car per year, implemented straight away in 2020.

Let’s say a manufacturer sold 1 million cars in the EU in a year and missed the target by a single gram then the fee would be €95 million, two grams and it’s suddenly €190 million etc. That is a lot of money even for the large manufacturers, and the 95 g/km target never goes away nor the fee for excess grams so it makes no sense to not comply and comply straight away.

  • The manufacturers have individual targets which are based on vehicle weight as the underlying utility parameter.

C02 Emissions Of Certain Brands In Europe For 2012

This means that manufacturers selling heavier cars will have lesser targets, benefiting the heavyweight (pun intended) German trio of Mercedes, BMW and Audi. This reflects the influence Germany has had during the negotiations which also has resulted in the less strict regulations than originally proposed. Only FIAT has a really tough goal because of their lightweight cars, and will likely have a really hard time reaching it – even with a good EV strategy (which they seem to totally lack today).

  • There are Super-credits in play between 2020 and 2022. A Super-credit is given to every car with CO2 emissions of less than 50 g/km and will make it count as more than one car. In 2020 a car given a Super-credit will count as 2.00 cars, in 2021 as 1.67 and in 2022 as 1.33 (2022). During the three years 2020–2022 the limit for the use of super-credits is set at a maximum of 7,5 g/km combined.

Almost every PHEV gets under 50 g/km so it will be fairly easy for the manufacturers to gain enough super-credits to be able to use the full 7,5 g/km if they need them. Then it’s just a matter of how to distribute them. The car manufacturer could for example choose to spread out the 7,5 g/km equally over the 3 years, making it 2,5 g/km per year or “spend” it all on a single year.

To better understand the numbers and what impact these EU-regulations will have I will give a comparison to Norway, the EV capital of the world. Let’s say a manufacturer reach their target like this:

– 2020 – 102,75 g/km (95 g/km for 95% of the fleet + 5% high emission cars)
– 2021 – 102,5 g/km (95 g/km + all of the 7,5 g/km super-credits)
– 2022 – 95 g/km (no super-credits left to “spend”)

I will compare that to the three first months for new car sales in Norway in 2015:

January – 101 g/km on average18% BEVs and 3,1% PHEVs – total 21.1% plug-ins
February – 101 g/km on average18% BEVs and 2% PHEVs – total 19.9%

And the record breaking last month in Norway which was the first month ever anywhere to go below 95 g/km.

March – 93 g/km on average – 23,9% BEVs and 2,5% PHEVs – total 26,5%

During the last three months Norway has almost copied what the whole of EU will have to do in a few years time. Can you imagine that? It puts the goal and numbers into a whole new perspective.

ICEs will of course become a bit more efficient until then and light hybridization might be a factor but the major reduction in the label on new cars for CO2-emissions will likely come from electrifying them. The most popular way to get there seems to be to make almost every car model into a PHEV, something that Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen have started to show or communicated. Something that will significantly increase the percentage of plug-ins needed to reach the target compared to Norway’s (almost) all BEV strategy.

I can give a personal guarantee that the plug-in sales in the EU will reach a bare minimum of 20% plug-ins sold in 2020, which is at least a 20-fold increase compared to today. Do you agree?

2020 is less than 4 years and 9 months away…

(Some of the) sources used:, ICCT (, European Comission

Categories: General


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27 Comments on "EU Regulations Impact On EV sales"

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The entire regulation is a giant paper cheating fairytale.


The target (due to automakers influence?) is not hard to hit (extrapolate linear trend of years 2007-2012 to 2020 and you will easily reach less than 90g/km by 2020) => no ADDITIONAL effort for car makers necessary.

And always remember: There is no market for BEV-vehicles at all!!! 😉

Cat — If you are referring to all the cheating done by car makers in falsifying their test results in Europe right now, then yes you are right.

But the law is fine, it is the cheaters that is the problem.

“manufacturers selling heavier cars will have lesser targets”

Doesn’t this mean that the laws are designed to encourage heavier cars? ::facepalm::

Leaf – 1,493 kg
X-trail – 1,496 kg

BMW X3 – 1,755 kg

Tesla model S – 2,108 kg

Looks like Nissan is doing quite badly, maybe they should put in an extra 300 kg of batteries in the Leaf? come to think of it why not add 300 kg of batteries to every Nissan model that’ll give BMW something to think about.

Interesting thought for the day, is the weight thing calculated on today’s average car weight or the average in 2020? If Tesla made a big splash in the EU they could potentially cause the system to come unstuck as their average car weight would be much higher than everyone else and hence drag down the limits for everyone else i.e. the 95 g/km is fixed so the way the reductions are split would mean that Tesla, having a heavier car would get a higher limit and everyone else would get a lower limit. Wouldn’t that be a shame:)

Maybe Tesla should offer their cars with a 2000 litre screen wash bottle reserve that sits in the back with the seats folded flat that can be disconnected and removed after purchasing the car? I am sure the weight of the bottle full would absolutely have to be included in the starting curb weight.

They should change the NEDC for testing the cars before implementing this. The NEDC is detached from reality and offers too much opportunity for the manufacturers to massage the numbers in their favour.

Europe is a bit of the tail on the dog. While there is a global convergence of regulations concerning emissions, CARB and to a lesser extent China are setting the standards.

Does the EU have a market like CARB? That’s a critical part of the equation. Don’t know, just curious.

I personally like China better in that they don’t have any monkey rules about shifting numbers around to cut smog. The China view is you guys are going to cut down on the amount of smog producing power plants or else by this date.

Nice article, helps to understand the complex EU regulations.

Lewis @ Custom Fittings

The idea that heavier cars have lower targets is bizarre to me, I mean, what?

I am pretty sure The eu already has the lowest co2/km of any developed part of the world so, despite some obvious flaws, I find it difficult to be critical. Keep in mind this is only part of a range of other member state laws to reduce co2 emissions which is why it can look like the tail is wagging the dog. the local tax systems in the big car markets will continue to put pressure to reduce emissions what this legislation dose is set the minimum effort required.

Google gives me conflicting numbers.

But I think if Nissan kept the CO2/km emissions the same for the rest of it’s sales fleet it would have to sell 15,000-20,000 Leaf’s per month to bring it’s average down to the required level (excluding bonus points). Their best selling model is the QASHQAI, which sells at about that rate but there is nothing in the smaller vehicles that sell at that level.

I think sales at that level would be quite possible but just not in 5 years. I guess they will have to bring the average on their other models down or it’s time for a new electric models! Maybe an electric Qashqai? they sell for 18-28k pounds. At the top end that is more than than a Leaf, surely they could do an electric SUV before with a 150 mile range before 2020? Interestingly the Ford Focus sells at about that level so that might be the target rather than other Nissan Models

I wish they would introduce more electric models but I suspect that they will just stop selling some of the very wasteful petrol versions of their cars, in particular the 4×4’s.

The author, Micke Larsson, wrote:

“I can give a personal guarantee that the plug-in sales in the EU will reach a bare minimum of 20% plug-ins sold in 2020, which is at least a 20-fold increase compared to today.”

So… exactly what is your “personal” plan to redress the situation if less than 20% of new cars sold in the EU are plug-in EVs by 2020? Perhaps you should look up the meaning of “guarantee” before making such bold promises.

* * * * *

Less than 1% of new cars sold today in the EU are EVs. 20% within 5 years? Well, let’s just say I will be astonished and -very- pleased if it happens, but the chances are slim and none. These goal posts will almost certainly be moved, just as CARB has moved their “zero emission” goal posts in the past, and likely will again.

I guess he’ll give us all our money back, I have no legal background but I am pretty sure you can guarantee what you like provided you are willing to return what ever you took to the owner if the guarantee is broken or if someone lost money because the guarantee was broken.


That said I’m with you, I think that 20% is a very big number for 5 years growth, I’d love to see it but I just can’t believe it will happen unless there is a massive dumping of 6 kWh plugin hybrids that get unbelievably low CO2/km ratings.