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European Alternative Fuels Observatory

The Clean Vehicles Directive

The Clean Vehicles Directive aims to increase the share of low- and zero-emission vehicles in contracts tendered by public authorities in the 28 EU countries. The Directive requires public authorities to promote and purchase alternative technologies to conventional diesel or petrol vehicles, including vehicles running on electricity, natural gas and hydrogen. Greater demand from public authorities will create market stimulus and therefore wider affordability of these vehicles for all operators. The Directive is expected to accelerate the broad market introduction of clean and energy-efficient road transport, in particular in the bus segment, where public procurement represents over 70% of the market. Increased sales will help reduce costs through economies of scale, resulting in progressive improvement in the energy and environmental performance of the whole vehicle fleet.

Revision of the Clean Vehicle Directive

With the 2019 revision of the Directive, three key changes have been introduced: (1) A new clean vehicle definition (2) National procurement targets for their procurements in the periods 2021-2025 and 2026-2030: each Member State is responsible for deciding how to divide their target on a national level. (3) Expansion of the scope to cover procurement through services contracts as well as through purchase, lease, hire-purchase.

As the most important change, the revised Clean Vehicles Directive requires the Member States to ensure that minimum percentages of “clean” and “zero-emission” vehicles will be procured within two reference periods: the first phase from 2021-2025 and the second one from 2026-2030.

National targets for procuring clean vehicles

In order to decarbonise transport and improve air quality in urban areas, it is crucial to renew the transport fleet with clean vehicles. Member States are required to procure vehicles and services in the scope of the directive, they are complying with the minimum procurement targets for clean light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. The targets are minimum percentages of clean vehicles in the total number of road transport vehicles covered by the aggregate of all contracts awarded between 2 August 2021 and 31 December 2025, for the first reference period, and between 1 January 2026 and 31 December 2030, for the second reference period.

Member States have the flexibility to distribute efforts to meet the minimum targets within their territory, in accordance with their constitutional framework and in line with their transport policy objectives. There are different procurement targets for Member States, which are based on their economic capacity and exposure to pollution and which fall within the following ranges:

Category

2025 

2030 

Trucks (N2 and N3) 

6,00%-10,00% 

7,00%-15,00% 

Buses (M3) 

29%-50% *

43%-75% *

Cars & vans (N1) 

16%-35% 

17,60%-38,5% 

Minimum procurement targets for December 2025 and December 2030. 

Minimum procurement targets for the share of clean light-duty vehicles in the total number of light-duty vehicles covered by contracts in the scope of the directive, at Member State level. 

*Half of the minimum target for the share of clean buses has to be fulfilled by procuring zero-emission buses as defined in point 5 of Article 4. This requirement is lowered to one-quarter of the minimum target for the first reference period if more than 80 % of the buses covered by the aggregate of all contracts referred to in Article 3, awarded during that period in a Member State, are double-decker buses.

Minimum procurement targets for December 2025 and December 2030

Minimum procurement targets for the share of clean light-duty vehicles in the total number of light-duty vehicles covered by contracts in the scope of the directive, at Member State level.

Target share of AF fleet for trucks (N2+N3)

Minimum procurement targets for the share of clean trucks (N2+N3) in the total number of trucks (N2+N3) covered by contracts in directive’s scope, at Member State level

Target share of AF fleet for buses (M2+M3)

Minimum procurement targets for the share of clean trucks (M2+M3) in the total number of trucks (M2+M3) covered by contracts in directive’s scope, at Member State level

New Clean Vehicle definition

The new definition of a ‘clean’ light-duty vehicle is based on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions per km, as reported in the vehicle’s Certificate of Conformity. The definition of a ‘clean’ heavy-duty vehicle is based on the list of alternative fuels in the Directive on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure. The Directive also includes a definition of a ‘zero-emission’ heavy-duty vehicle.

 

Category

2025 

2030 

Trucks & Buses (N2, N3, M3) 

A vehicle running on electricity (including plug-in hybrid vehicles), hydrogen, natural gas including biomethane, in gaseous form (compressed natural gas (CNG)) and liquefied form (liquefied natural gas (LNG), synthetic and paraffinic fuels and sustainable biofuels when not blended with conventional fuels

Cars & vans (N1) 

Cars: 25 CO2 g/km and pollutant emissions 20% below the Euro norms emission limits 

  

Vans: 40 CO2 g/km and pollutant emissions 20% below the Euro norms emission limits 

0 CO2 g/km 

 

 

Table 3: Zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles

Category

Alternative fuels 

Vehicle categories (M3, N2, N3 vehicles) 

A “zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle” means a clean vehicle without an internal combustion engine, or with an internal combustion engine that emits less than 1 g CO2/kWh.

 

Expansion of scope

The amending directive extended the application of the directive so that it now covers procurement through:

  • Contracts for the purchase, lease, rent or hire-purchase of vehicles
  • Public road passenger transport services contracts,
  • Services contracts for public road transport services, special-purpose road passenger-transport services, non-scheduled passenger transport, refuse collection services, mail and parcel transport and delivery

National Guidance and support on the revised Clean Vehicle Directive

Knowledge and info on clean bus deployment

The CBEP Library provides material related to clean bus deployment, including guidelines, publications, legislative documentation, and webinars. All material is categorised according to the four stages of clean bus deployment: "if", "how", "what" and "when".

Link: https://cleanbusplatform.eu/toolkit/library

Policy Recommendations for electrification of public transport in cities 

The goal of the ELIPTIC policy recommendations is to share the insights our use cases have made with regard to the electrification of bus fleets in their cities and how existing electric public transport systems can be used for the charging of other electric vehicles. 

Link: https://eliptic-project.eu/sites/default/files/ELIPTIC%20Policy%20recommendations_FINAL_LowRes_0.pdf

 

Relevant legislations and policies