* EU presidency seeking agreement by end-June on vehicle
* Industry says carbon limit very ambitious, wants loopholes
* Environmental campaigner say not ambitious enough
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, May 7 The top speed of vans in the
European Union should be electronically limited to 120 km (75
miles) per hour, according to a proposal backed by the European
Parliament's environment committee.
The plan is part of a debate on how to cut carbon emissions
and improve the fuel efficiency of Europe's vehicles. It would
only become law if approved by EU member states.
Under Tuesday's proposal, vehicle makers would have to fit
all new vans sold in the European Union with devices to restrict
their speed from Jan. 1 next year.
The environment committee members also voted on rules to
implement a 147 grams per km (g/km) carbon dioxide emission
limit as an average for all EU new vans from 2020 and put
forward a maximum range of 105 g/km to 120 g/km from 2025.
German liberal politician Holger Krahmer, who has been
leading the debate on vans in the European Parliament, welcomed
confirmation of the 147 g/km target, but opposed the speed
restriction, saying road traffic rules were a matter for
individual member states.
The European Automobile Manufacturer's Association (ACEA) -
which represents makers including Daimler, Ford of
Europe, General Motors Europe and Renault Group
- said the 147 g/km goal was extremely ambitious and
could only be achieved with hybrid vehicle technology.
It called, in a statement, for "more effective" use of
loopholes called supercredits, which allow manufacturers to
carry on making powerful, polluting vehicles if they also
produce very low emission vehicles such as electric vans and
The original proposals from the executive European
Commission said supercredits could spur innovation, but too
generous an allocation would undermine the effectiveness of the
law to increase fuel efficiency and decrease emissions.
Environmental campaigners say the 147-gram target for vans
is not ambitious enough. They say it can be easily met through
measures such as lighter materials and more streamlining and is
less ambitious than proposals for cars.
For cars, the parliament has backed rules to enforce a goal
of 95 g/km, which campaign group Transport & Environment (T&E)
said translated into 118 g/km for vans, taking account their
larger size and loads they have to carry.
While criticising what it saw as a lack of ambition, T&E
welcomed to proposal to cap speed, saying vans were the only
commercial vehicles that are not yet speed-limited.
It cited consumer surveys in Britain, Germany, Italy and the
Netherlands that show a majority of citizens support the idea.
The parliament will now start negotiating a legal text with
European ministers and the Commission, the bloc's executive.
Ireland, holder of the rotating EU presidency, has said it hopes
for a deal on vehicle emissions before the end of June.