Tech neutrality: A golden guiding principle for the car industry

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.COM Ltd.

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Sigrid de Vries is CLEPA's Secretary General [CLEPA]

Technology neutrality supports European leadership in the car sector and it is important that it continues to be the guiding principle for EU legislation on automotive CO2 reductions, writes Sigrid de Vries.

Sigrid de Vries is Secretary-General of CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers.

Understandably, and for years, technology neutrality has been the guiding principle for emission legislation in the transport sector. The EU has continually led the world with respect to automotive CO2 reductions, enabled by European suppliers and manufacturers constantly innovating and providing technology solutions which are exported and adopted globally.

It’s important that Europe continues to have a neutral and challenging legislative framework. Technology neutrality supports European technology leadership, sustaining the global competitiveness of the automotive supply industry and the European automotive manufacturing and employment base. It leverages industrial strength while fulfilling the environmental goal of efficiently and increasingly decarbonising the transport sector.

Next month, Parliament and Council will start forming their opinions on the post-2020 CO2 emission reduction legislation for cars and vans. CLEPA will continue to make the case for technology neutrality, reaching out to policymakers, other sectors and societal stakeholders alike.

“We know what the ingredients of modern mobility will be,” said CLEPA President Roberto Vavassori at a recent conference. “But the actual mix is at present highly unpredictable. We need Europe, therefore, to pursue its emission reduction goals in the most realistically challenging way.”

That means to recognise in practice the multiple pathways available and needed to reduce carbon emissions and to make the best use of the available technology solutions. In that aspect, the new CO2 proposal must be further strengthened.

Automotive suppliers are the technology solution providers: they engineer future technology and work to integrate the development of sustainable, safe and smart mobility, to ensure progress on all mobility challenges at the same time. It’s this competence and insight they bring to the fore.

Looking at 2018 and the first months of 2019, it’s interesting to note the wide array of EU regulatory dossiers that concern the automotive industry, and the ambitious push for progress that is undertaken by industry, legislators and stakeholders alike.

Apart from CO2 emission legislation, suppliers anticipate the revision of the General Safety Regulation, which needs to speed through the institutions before the next elections in order to step up the EU road safety record and to pave the way for automated driving. In addition, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers is also closely monitoring type approval, repair and maintenance, materials and substances, product liability and many other areas.

CLEPA looks ahead at another active year and I would like to alert you to our important events coming up soon: the CLEPA Aftermarket Conference on 21-22 March at the outskirts of Brussels, the CLEPA Policy Debate and Annual Reception on April 11 in the European heart of Brussels, the CLEPA Materials Regulations Event on 18-19 April in Stuttgart and the CLEPA Innovation Awards Ceremony on 13 June in The Hague.

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