Auto Industry Unveils Roadmap for Future EU Mobility Ecosystem as the EIB Finances Iveco’s Decarbonisation Efforts: GMBP

Covered in this week’s Green Mobility Policy Brief: Auto Industry CEOs Unveil Roadmap for Future-Proofing EU Mobility Ecosystem; EIB Paves the Way for Sustainable Transport: €500 Million Financing for Iveco Group’s Decarbonization Efforts; MEPs Propose Enhancements to European Hydrogen Bank to Accelerate Green Transition; and PTC, TATA Steel NL, and ZES Embark on Electrifying Inland Waterway Transport.

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Auto Industry CEOs Unveil Roadmap for Future-Proofing EU Mobility Ecosystem.

In anticipation of the COP 28 climate conference and ahead of the upcoming EU elections, the President of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), Luca de Meo, along with the CEOs of major European vehicle manufacturers, presented a new manifesto and roadmap aimed at shaping a competitive and sustainable mobility ecosystem for the future. Mr. de Meo, who also serves as the CEO of Renault Group, emphasized the profound transformation currently underway in the automotive sector, labelling it the most significant in over a century. “There is no question for us about the need to decarbonize. We are investing billions to make this happen – far more than any other sector,” he stated. ACEA’s roadmap is built upon three fundamental pillars – supply, production, and demand – reflecting a collaborative effort between the auto industry and its partners to navigate the challenges ahead. One prominent aspect of the ACEA’s roadmap is the ambition to position Europe as a hub for manufacturing green and intelligent vehicles. De Meo highlighted the importance of collaboration with policymakers to create conditions conducive to producing a diverse range of zero-emission models, including small, affordable electric vehicles that are economically viable to manufacture within Europe. Central to the ACEA’s vision is the call for a level playing field in global competition. “Europe must not only ensure that we are as well-equipped as other regions, it must also ensure that we compete on a level playing field. Competition is very healthy, and true competition also means open global markets and free and fair trade rules,” said Mr. de Meo. In a parallel development, ACEA’s Board of Directors re-elected Mr. de Meo for a second-year term as President, affirming their commitment to his leadership in steering the industry through this transformative period. The President of ACEA is elected for one year, renewable once, by member company CEOs.

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EIB Paves the Way for Sustainable Transport: €500 Million Financing for Iveco Group’s Decarbonization Efforts.

In a move towards advancing sustainable mobility and combating climate change, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a financing package of up to 500 million euros for the Iveco Group N.V. This financial agreement marks the first collaboration between the EIB and Iveco Group, aiming to revolutionize the transport sector by promoting electrification, efficiency, and safety. The approved financing, signed in Turin, consists of an initial tranche of 450 million euros, with the remaining 50 million euros poised to follow suit. The loan, featuring an 8-year amortization profile, will be utilized by Iveco Group to invest in cutting-edge technologies for electric propulsion, autonomous driving, digitalization, and vehicle connectivity. The overarching goal is to enhance commercial and speciality vehicles’ efficiency, safety, driving comfort, and productivity. The investment will not only focus on Italy, where most resources will be allocated to the Iveco Group’s Turin and Foggia plants, but will also extend to Germany, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland. Gilles Badot, EIB Director for Operations in Italy, emphasized the importance of investing in projects that facilitate sustainable mobility, recognizing the transport sector’s significant contribution to CO2 emissions in Europe. He stated, “This operation with Iveco Group not only demonstrates the strong commitment of the EIB to the climate transition but also contributes to promoting innovation and job creation in Italy and Europe.”

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Virgin Atlantic Operates Fully SAF-Fuelled Commercial Flight Between London and New York.

On November 28, 2023, Virgin Atlantic operated the world’s first commercial flight across the Atlantic, powered entirely by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Transport Secretary Mark Harper, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Shai Weiss, and the airline’s founder, Sir Richard Branson, were among the passengers on this historical food-fat-powered voyage. The venture was supported by up to £1 million in UK government funding awarded in December 2022, facilitating the testing of the sustainable fuel, and ensuring the operational success of this historic flight. According to a UK government press release, SAF boasts a significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction of around 70% compared to conventional jet fuel over its life cycle. The SAF used on this particular flight contained a unique blend consisting of 88% HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids) supplied by AirBP and 12% SAK (Synthetic Aromatic Kerosene) supplied by Virent, the latter being primarily produced from plant sugars. Speaking about the achievement, Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Atlantic, said: “The world will always assume something can’t be done, until you do it. The spirit of innovation is getting out there and trying to prove that we can do things better for everyone’s benefit. Virgin Atlantic has been challenging the status quo and pushing the aviation industry to never settle and do better since 1984. Fast forward nearly 40 years, that pioneering spirit continues to be Virgin Atlantic’s beating heart as it pushes the boundaries from carbon fibre aircraft and fleet upgrades to sustainable fuels.” Whilst monumental, the event laid bare a worrying reality: SAF production is currently insufficient to meet commercial or regulatory demands. Speaking about the matter, Shai Weiss, Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Atlantic, said, “There’s simply not enough SAF, and it’s clear that in order to reach production at scale, we need to see significantly more investment. This will only happen when regulatory certainty and price support mechanisms are in place.”

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MEPs Propose Enhancements to European Hydrogen Bank to Accelerate Green Transition.

To bolster the European Union’s commitment to climate neutrality by 2050 and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have proposed significant changes to the European Hydrogen Bank (EHB). Hydrogen, a key player in the green transition, is slated to play a pivotal role in the RepowerEU initiative, aiming to produce 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen and its equivalent import by 2030. The MEPs advocate for a substantial increase in the EHB’s budget. They argue that the initial 3 billion euros might fall short compared to the ambitious industrial policies of global players like China and the United States. Furthermore, MEPs propose transforming the EHB into a one-stop-shop, simplifying and streamlining support for all renewable hydrogen activities across the European Union. In their latest report, MEPs highlight the importance of targeting sectors with high carbon footprints, such as heavy transport, steel, and fertilizers. The MEPs report underscores the long-term sustainability of the hydrogen sector, asserting that renewable hydrogen is the only viable option in the future. While acknowledging the transitional role of low-carbon hydrogen, the focus remains on advancing renewable hydrogen to achieve a net-zero economy.

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PTC, TATA Steel NL, and ZES Embark on Electrifying Inland Waterway Transport.

In a collaborative effort to revolutionize inland waterway transport and reduce carbon emissions, PTC (Private Transport Cooperative b.a.) and TATA Steel NL have joined forces with Zero Emission Services (ZES). This strategic partnership aims to explore the feasibility of achieving emission-free shipping through the innovative use of modular energy containers. The collective initiative is aptly named Project PTe-C (PTC & TATA’s Electrification Challenge). Ella Hofs-Visser, Manager of PR & Sustainability at PTC, emphasized the commitment to sustainability, stating, “Collaborating with ZES on container barges’ technological advancements is expected to swiftly enable zero-emission steel shipments.” PTC has been at the forefront of research projects for a decade, exploring various alternatives, including hydrogen powder, to retrofit their existing fleet for emission-free operation. The involvement of ZES, with its innovative energy system, brings a unique approach to making inland shipping more sustainable. Bart Hoevenaars, Director of Zero Emission Services, expressed satisfaction with the collaboration, stating, “We are grateful to PTC for their trust and belief in ZES. Equally important is TATA Steel’s recognition of the necessity of emission-free transport and their willingness to collaborate with ZES and PTC.” Notably, the focus of the collaboration extends beyond container ships, as Bart Hoevenaars highlighted that ships carrying breakbulk cargo, such as those used by TATA Steel, are also eligible for electric sailing. The project marks a significant step toward achieving a cleaner and more sustainable future for inland waterway transport.

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Image: Luca De Meo at the International Transport Forum’s 2023 Summit on “Transport Enabling Sustainable Economies” in Leipzig, Germany on 25 May 2023. International Transport Forum via Flicker. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Deed