October 6, 2020

Saskia Harreman
Head of Knowledge Centre

In December 2019 the European Commission (EC) announced the European Green Deal – a holistic approach towards climate action including a roadmap for the introduction of various measures throughout 2020/2021.

It commits the EU to becoming climate-neutral by 2050 whilst promising to help companies become world leaders in clean products and green technologies. Since then, despite the Covid-19 crisis, the EC has pushed out numerous legislative initiatives. In this blog, we dive deeper into how two key measures (Transport and Energy) in the Green Deal will require companies to rethink their mobility and transportation needs. We also provide six tips to help fleet owners start preparing for 100% zero-emission fleet management today.

The European Green Deal is a framework for regulation and legislation that sets clear overarching targets: an EU-wide goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and up to a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030 (compared with 1990 levels).

Measures to support cleaner, greener and alternative transport methods

The EC’s strategy for sustainable and smart mobility is aimed at putting users first and providing them with more affordable, accessible, healthier and cleaner alternatives to their current mobility habits. It tackles all emission sources. To ensure that the price of transport reflects the environmental and health impact, fossil-fuel subsidies will end and any loopholes in the current tax exemptions will be closed. To drastically reduce pollution caused by transport, especially in cities, a combination of measures will address emissions, urban congestion and improved public transport. For example, the EC is proposing new Euro 7 emissions standards for cars, vans, lorries and buses from mid-2021, possibly to include previously unregulated pollutants, which will further squeeze diesel and petrol vehicles out of the market. In parallel, the focus will be on ramping up the production and deployment of sustainable alternative transport fuels – including through legislation to boost the uptake if necessary. By 2025, approximately one million public recharging and refuelling stations will be needed for the 13 million zero- and low-emission vehicles expected on European roads. The EC will therefore complement measures taken at the national level by supporting the development of the required infrastructure, particularly for long-distance travel and in less densely populated areas.

Promoting and integrating renewable energy and decarbonisation

The EC’s energy measures will target both production and use, with a strong focus on the EU’s internal energy market to safeguard the security of supply and affordability for consumers and businesses alike. The Strategy for Energy System Integration, published on 8 July 2020, aims to increase efficiency and reduce carbon emissions by better linking the different energy sectors across the EU, including vehicles (vehicle-to-grid) and industry as a producer of heat. To stimulate much-needed technological innovation in fuel, infrastructure and energy services, subsidies may be available in priority areas including clean hydrogen, fuel cells, energy storage and carbon capture, storage and utilisation.

What does the European Green Deal mean for fleet owners?

In the years ahead, the European Green Deal will impact mobility and transport-related regulations in two main ways: further restrictions and penalisation for the acquisition and operation of polluting vehicles (e.g. fuel excise duties, registration/road tax, introduction of more Low Emission Zones), and motivation of zero- or ultra-low-emission vehicles (e.g. subsidies for vehicle purchases and infrastructure, free parking, cheaper road tolls). The typical renewal cycle for operational lease vehicles is three to four years, but many new vehicle orders have been put on hold due to Covid-19. Therefore, it’s best to start preparing for the upcoming measures sooner rather than later.

Amongst other things, the European Green Deal is aimed at:

  • Rolling out renewable energy projects, especially based on wind and solar power, and kick-starting a clean hydrogen economy.
  • Cleaner transport and logistics, including the installation of one million charging points for electric vehicles and a boost for rail travel and clean mobility in Europe’s cities and regions .

7 tips to help fleet managers take action

  1. Create an overview of your current fleet and vehicle profiles: types of vehicles, usage (urban vs. long distance), mileage, powertrains, etc. Identify the possible early EV adopters versus the outliers and predict your future requirements.

  2. Think about the connection between your company’s corporate goals/sustainability targets and your fleet operations. As a fleet manager, how can you contribute to accomplishing them?

  3. Check with your local authorities to keep yourself informed about the current situation and any upcoming changes. Which regulations, subsidies or other measures pose risks to your operations, and which present opportunities that can help you to transition to sustainable fleet management? Start planning for these risks and opportunities: when will they become applicable and how long will they remain in place? Remember that some grants are available on a first-come, first-served basis and have a maximum number of participants.

  4. Ask for feedback from your lease drivers. How do the new measures affect their day-to-day work? Which solutions could help them in practice?

  5. Engage relevant stakeholders and involve them in your preparations to future-proof your fleet.

  6. Lead by example and demonstrate top-down support; managers should be among the first to switch to EVs.

  7. Be proactive. Don’t delay your green move any longer – start preparing for tomorrow, today!

The European Green Deal will shape mobility for decades to come

The European Green Deal aims to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use .
Attempting to fully reconceptualise how a modern economy might look, it feels more ambitious and holistic in its approach than any other recent EU initiative. The stimulus package will shape transport and mobility needs – and hence fleet operations – in Europe for decades to come. This is an unprecedented opportunity for us all to work towards a greener, more resilient and inclusive future.
At LeasePlan, we have already ignited an approach towards 100% zero-emission mobility of our own fleet and learned valuable lessons from these front-runner projects . Are you still deciding whether to make the transition to a zero- or ultra-low-emission fleet? Our specialists can advise you on the best transition strategy in every market. They will also support you throughout the whole process, including with vehicle choices, charging solutions and implementation services.