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Clean vehicles public procurement rules should reward all alternative fuels
Belgium | Brussels

Clean vehicles public procurement rules should reward all alternative fuels

8 Feb 2019

The Clean Vehicles Directive encourages public authorities to move towards natural gas, electric and hydrogen fuel cells vehicles. IRU fully supports the European Commission’s proposal to update these rules on public procurement of clean vehicles, which is currently reaching the final stage of trilogy meetings. However, IRU calls on policy-makers to ensure that the definition of ‘clean’ reflects market realities. 
IRU is pleased to see both the European Parliament and Council suggesting to align the legislation with the Directive on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure in order to ensure a symbiotic relationship between fuels, vehicles and infrastructure. The role of advanced biofuels should not be ignored in the directive. 
Additionally, zero-emission targets are a concern to the industry and in this respect the European Parliament’s proposal is more technology neutral and well-balanced as it allows targets to be met using natural gas vehicles as well as electric vehicles. 
Public procurement rules must also be accompanied by sufficient investment in refuelling and recharging infrastructure and by financial incentives for fleet renewal from both the EU and Member States. Operators are committed to investing in alternative fuels, but higher prices and the constraints of a fragmented market with low margins is a significant barrier for private operators. Legislators must not overlook this crucial piece of the puzzle in their revision of this Directive. Private operators must be able to compete with public operators on a level playing field. 
Finally, IRU is pleased to see the Council clarifying that coaches cannot be included within the scope of the Directive. Given their range requirements, technological advances such as electrification are not viable solutions for this form of transport. In fact, coaches today are the most environmentally friendly means of moving people and the easiest way to reduce private car use.