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Saturday, August 13, 2022

No time to lose for the European Commission to make plug-in hybrid CO2 emission values more realistic — and no need to wait!

A recent study by fellow colleagues visited and Fraunhofer ISI showed that CO2 Emissions Emissions of the average hybrid plug-in vehicle (PHEV) in Europe are two to four times higher than the official values ​​set during the type approval. The difference between the real world and CO2 Emission emissions are attributed to an erroneous assumption made in the EU (EU) type approval regulation regarding the frequency with which PHEV drivers will charge their vehicles, and therefore implicitly how often they will use the combustion engine while driving.

This is not just an interesting fact. This turns out to be a significant problem for EU climate policy. Not only PHEVs help manufacturers meet their CO2 Targets under EU regulations while making little contribution to real-world CO reduction2 Emissions. They are also subsidized by many member states as a seemingly alternative to conventional vehicles, which increases their sales numbers and exacerbates the damage to the climate that these vehicles actually cause.

The European Commission proposes to correct the current, overly optimistic assumptions in the use of PHEV in Upcoming version Of the type approval regulation, according to a presentation to the recently leaked member states. The good news is that real-world data on how actual PHEVs are driving has been documented from all vehicles since January 2021, and these data will be available soon to provide a solid basis for determining a more representative CO2 Emission values ​​during type approval. The bad news, however, is that the European Commission is hesitant to move quickly and is seriously considering postponing the amendment based on these figures until 2030, while rapid action is both possible and necessary.

To understand the situation, it is helpful to get some background story. Today’s procedure for approving type of PHEVs in the EU was developed in 2014, at a time when almost none of them have been sold yet. With no better data available, conventional vehicle-only combustion engine driving statistics were used to develop the procedure, and assumptions had to be made as to how the real-world use of PHEVs would be made. The 2020 study mentioned above showed that these assumptions were too optimistic. In particular, the analysis found that users charge their vehicles less frequently and also travel longer daily distances. But why is this a problem?

The 2014 assumptions were the basis for the development of a benefit factor that describes the share of the total distance that PHEV traveled using mainly power from the battery. The service factor is then used to calculate the official PHEV CO2 Emissions under the regulation. If a vehicle is charged less frequently and therefore travels less on the electric motor from the discount, the real-world service factor is lower than that used for type approval. Unrealistically high usage factors lead to approved vehicles emitting unrealistically low amounts of CO2.

A benefit factor that reflects the actual use of PHEV can ensure that the official CO2 Emission values ​​represent emissions during real-world activity. This will have some important benefits. The contribution of PHEVs to total CO2 Emissions can therefore be calculated for climate change more accurately. Member States can reallocate expenditures designed to subsidize climate change mitigation strategies away from cultivating PHEV sales that have little impact on CO reduction2 Emissions and towards more efficient measures. Member States will also recast sales tax revenue and property now lost due to taxes on PHEV CO2 Emissions are calculated according to official emission values ​​that are too low. And the official, famous CO2 Emission values ​​of ordinary vehicles and PHEVs will similarly represent their emissions in the real world, giving consumers an accurate basis on which to make informed purchasing decisions given the expected cost of ownership and the effects on climate change.

From the perspective of the data, a quick update of the service factor is possible. The 2020 study mentioned above examined user data from 100,000 PHEVs, of which about 15,000 were registered in the EU – 10 times more than the 1,400 conventional vehicles used to develop the service factor in 2014 – and on that basis The revised service factor was proposed by Fraunhofer ISI in 2021 It is much more representative of the use in the real world.

And even more real-world data will be available soon. EU for light vehicles2 Regulation has made fuel monitoring and energy consumption (OBFCM) standards mandatory in all new passenger and commercial vehicles starting in January 2021. OBFCMs permanently document fuel consumption and electrical energy, and this data can be used to calculate the actual service factor while driving in the real world.

As of April 2022, manufacturers must report to the European Commission the previous year’s OBFCM data collected from vehicles by telemetry or during repair and maintenance, as shown in Figure 1. The data will then be processed by the European Commission and published cumulatively in December each year. Since manufacturers Require service for their vehicles every 12 to 24 months, The volume of OBFCM data collected during repair and maintenance will increase continuously over time, resulting in the service factor becoming more representative of the vehicle fleet. As early as the end of 2023, real-world data will be available from most vehicles registered in 2021 and some of the vehicles registered in 2022 and 2023. Real-world service factors released in December 2022, 2023 and 2024 can be used to evaluate future official PHEV CO2 Emissions.

Figure 1: Availability of real-world plug-in hybrid usage data from fuel and energy consumption devices (OBFCM) on the board for correcting the currently too high service factor.
* Estimation is based on 2019 registration numbers and PTI frequency in EU member states
** Oil change for most manufacturers every 12-24 months

In addition to OBFCM data reported by manufacturers, Member States will collect OBFCM data during the periodic technical inspection (PTI) of vehicles. The first PTI of a new vehicle may not occur until four years after the sale in some EU member states, so OBFCM data on a significant share of the fleet will not be available for the first time until calendar year 2024. But by using this data to complete and verify reported values By the manufacturers, a representative and reliable benefit factor will be available by December 2025 at the latest.

Figure 2 shows a possible timeline for updating the service factor, starting from the European Commission which presented an intermediate benefit factor from 2023 onwards based on the 2020 study. The temporary service factor will prevent the continued sale of PHEVs with unrepresentatively low CO2 Emission values ​​until 2026, when a reality-based benefit derived from OBFCM data can be presented.

Figure 2: Proposing a roadmap for adjusting the utility factor to more representative values ​​in the real world.

To ensure that the CO2 Emissions of PHEVs are handled correctly, the European Commission needs to close the huge gap between the average real world and the official PHEV CO2 Emission values ​​by updating the service coefficient used for type approval. It also has the opportunity, in a process that is already underway to amend the regulation, and also the supporting data. The time to act is now, not in ten years.


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