Legislative proposal  
2017/0291(COD) - 08/11/2017  

PURPOSE: to promote clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles.

PROPOSED ACT: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council.

ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: the European Parliament decides in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and on an equal footing with the Council.

BACKGROUND: Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road vehicles (the Clean Vehicles Directive) makes it mandatory to account for operational lifetime energy and environmental impact in the public procurement of road transport vehicles.

An ex-post evaluation carried out in 2015 showed that the Directive has serious shortcomings (e.g. limited scope, lack of definition, inaccuracy or extreme complexity of the provisions on the purchase of vehicles). So far, public bodies have only purchased small volumes of clean vehicles.

Public procurement remains relevant as a demand-side stimulus, including in the field of heavy-duty transport vehicles where no legislative requirement for reducing CO2 emissions exists yet. This is why the Commission is presenting a new initiative to increase the market uptake of clean vehicles in the context of public procurement.

Currently, the uptake is very low: in 2017, in 16 Member States the proportion of battery-electric vehicles in new car registrations was less than 1%, and in 10 Member States it was less than 0.5%.

The proposal builds on the Commission's European strategy for low-emission mobility, adopted in July 2016. It confirms that, in order to meet the commitments made by the EU at COP21 held in Paris in 2015, the decarbonisation of the transport sector must be accelerated.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT: the preferred option is to introduce a definition of clean vehicles based on emission thresholds and setting up minimum procurement target for light-duty vehicles and combining it with a definition based on alternative fuels and setting up minimum procurement targets for heavy-duty vehicles.

CONTENT: the Commission proposes to revise the Clean Vehicle Directive to ensure that the Directive covers all relevant procurement practices, provides for clear and long-term market signals and that provisions are simplified and effective.

The proposal is limited to the establishment of a common policy framework with minimum requirements for the award of contracts for clean vehicles, while leaving Member States flexibility in terms of implementation, including in the choice of technology.

In concrete terms, the proposed revision:

  • extends the scope of the Directive to forms of public procurement other than purchasing, namely the leasing, rental or hire-purchase and to public service contracts for public road transport, special purpose road services, non-scheduled passenger transport and bus and coach hire;
  • sets a definition for clean light-duty vehicles based on a combined CO2 and air pollutant emissions threshold;
  • sets, in terms of public procurement for clean vehicles, minimum targets differentiated by Member State and segmented by vehicle category according to both CO2 emission thresholds and air pollutants (light-duty vehicles) and the use of alternative fuels (heavy-duty vehicles), as included in the Annex and set from the dates mentioned therein;
  • introduces a framework for reporting and follow-up: the first intermediate reporting in 2023 and full reporting in 2026 on the implementation of the targets for 2025 and every three years thereafter.  

DELEGATED ACTS: the proposal contains provisions empowering the Commission to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union in order to update provisions for CO2 emission standards of heavy duty vehicles once the related heavy-duty CO2 emission performance standards are in force at Union level.