‘The greatest wave of innovation since the war’


Source: Transport and Environment (T&E)

A German scientist has described measures to encourage smaller, more fuel-efficient engines and lighter vehicles as ‘the greatest wave of innovation since the second world war’.
Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, head of the Center of Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, said a variety of fuel-saving technologies have come onto the market more quickly and more cheaply than expected. He noted that almost all car makers now offer special low-consumption models with low carbon dioxide emissions.

Dudenhöffer recommends the German government be ‘less rejecting towards the EU’s proposed emissions limits for light commercial vehicles than it was over the emissions limits proposed for cars’.

Meanwhile, a report published by the Commission has confirmed evidence from T&E that shows Europe’s car makers are on target to achieve the EU’s obligatory target of 130 grams per kilometre by 2015, but failed to meet the voluntary commitment of 140g by 2009.

The European car makers’ umbrella Acea says this progress is due to people buying smaller cars because of the need to save money, but the T&E report showed that at least half of the progress made was due to technical improvements introduced as a result of the legally-binding standards.

In an interview published in response to the T&E study, Thomas Weber, head of Research and Development at Daimler, told the German magazine Automobilwoche last month that his company would be ready to meet the EU’s 95g CO2 target for 2020 because all the necessary technologies “we have either already developed for series production, or will be ready in the next few years”.

  • The European Commission has launched a website aimed at helping public authorities, households and companies to calculate the lifetime costs of the vehicles they intend to buy. T&E staff who have used the website suggest it is likely to be of more use to companies and authorities than households, as private individuals would expect it to be more user-friendly. The website is www.cleanvehicle.eu.

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