Important with a technology neutral approach

Let me return to the new European proposal for public procurement that I wrote about the 13th of January:

While the spirit and ambition of the proposal is increased harmonisation of public procurement all over Europe there are some risks that I would like to highlight further.

The first issue concerns the calculation of the life cycle cost for emissions. In the calculation the EU test cycles should be used or, in lack of such, “widely recognised” test cycles. For buses there are no cycles where emissions are measured per kilometre driving distance (as described in the proposal).

Without knowing if this has been discussed I anticipate that we may be forced to use “widely recognised” cycles. The commission possibly challenge the stake holders to rapidly agree on common cycles? Maybe this is the most efficient way to start the action but there are risks that we need to be aware of: i) there is no cycle in use today requiring chassis dynamometer testing and thus no established routines, ii) in lack of established cycles local actors may feel forced to invent their own cycles (and the good ambition of the commission is lost).

For hybrids for example testing of the full drive train including energy recuperation is the only fair way to evaluate the recent progress in technology. It is therefore important that the commission maintain the control of the definition of “widely recognised”. At present state possibly its better to use the legislative cycle until with adequate conversion factors for g/kWh to g/km until “widely recognised” cycles are agreed on.

The second issue concerns the competitiveness of buses versus other alternative means of personal transports. If we now assume that the proposal will be decided without major changes.

Together with the heavy duty emission legislations for Euro V and Euro VI the public procurement will increase the cost for public vehicles. Buses pay high vehicle taxes independently of their environmental properties while trams, metro and rail get subsidiaries.

Will electrical vehicles be charged for the CO2 emissions in the coal fired power plants?

Will private cars be subjected to the same demands as buses?

Will the performance per passenger kilometre converge to the same values?

Will the use of street space be considered and charged?

We will have to wait and see.

In any case it is important to maintain a technology neutral approach also between different means of transports.

About volvobuses

Adjunct Professor of Catalysis at Chalmers University of Technology. Lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, with my wife and three daughters born in 1991, 1994 and 1997. Is a passionate runner.
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