EU Directive on Clean and Energy Efficient Vehicles

The EU directive on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles, which applies to all procurements of vehicles for public transport services from this month, requires public authorities, when buying a vehicle, to take account of its energy consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions over the vehicle’s lifetime.

The clean vehicle directive introduces for the first time sustainability obligations into public procurement law for the whole EU. All purchase decisions by public authorities and private operators concerning vehicles for public transport services will now have to take into account the impact of their energy consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions affecting air quality, integrated over the entire lifetime of vehicles.

Thus, the real costs to be encountered over the lifetime operation of vehicles are anticipated, giving a relative advantage (lower lifetime costs) to vehicles that pollute less and consume less energy. The obligation extends to all purchases of road transport vehicles by public authorities or by transport operators charged with public service obligations.

The directive defines a methodology for the calculation of lifetime cost for energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and pollutant emissions of vehicles:

* Lifetime cost of energy consumption = cost per unit of energy X energy consumption per km X total lifetime mileage;

* Lifetime cost of CO2/pollutant emissions = cost per kg of emissions X kg of emissions per km X total lifetime mileage.

The clean vehicle portal has been set up to support public procurement of vehicles as well as help private users in buying a cleaner and more energy-efficient car. The portal takes advantage of Europe’s largest vehicle database and provides the consumption and emission data of vehicles, as required for the calculation of lifetime cost. It features an online calculator to carry out lifetime cost calculations for the vehicles chosen. An internet forum allows public procurers to team up to joint procurement calls. This should allow aligning and bundling purchases of vehicles to achieve economies of scale with larger volumes.

The portal also gives information on the technical and economic aspects of the different vehicle technologies, including hybrid, electric, biofuel, natural gas, LPG, and hydrogen vehicles. Information is provided on public procurement legislation and specific programmes and incentives for the purchase and operation of clean and energy-efficient vehicles, at EU level and in the different Member States at national, regional, and local levels.

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