Strategic Policy Recommendations for a Greener and More Competitive European Automotive Industry – The Volvo Cars Manifesto

Volvo Cars has recently unveiled a comprehensive suite of policy recommendations targeting the next European Parliamentary period from 2024 to 2029. These recommendations aim to fortify the competitive edge of the European automotive industry while significantly advancing the region’s sustainability goals. The policy framework emphasizes the critical need for long-term predictability and stability, essential for achieving climate objectives and supporting the digital transformation of the automotive sector.

Addressing Fragmentation and Enhancing Connectivity

Despite the ambitious goals set by the EU in 2018 to lead in automation and self-driving vehicles, Volvo Cars identifies a persistent gap between these aspirations and their realisation. Central to this issue is the fragmentation of traffic rules across member states, which impedes progress. Volvo Cars advocates for an updated strategy that integrates technical expertise from the automotive industry into the rulemaking process. This integration is crucial in resolving conflicts between horizontal legislation and sector-specific regulations, such as those governing spectrum access and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication standards.

Supporting Safe Digital Transformation

With regard to digital transformation, Volvo Cars underscores the importance of finding a balanced approach to data access. This balance must protect personal data while ensuring vehicle safety and reliability. The company stresses the necessity of fostering the free flow of traffic safety data from both public and private sectors. Additionally, Volvo Cars recommends revisiting the strategy on automated mobility considering the European Commission’s feasibility study on a centralised EU agency dedicated to coordinating traffic rules.

Promoting Sustainability and Circularity

According to the manifesto, the company is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, advocating for decarbonising the entire vehicle lifecycle. This includes the use of sustainable materials and advanced recycling methods. The company supports the development of a biodiversity market and calls for increased research and innovation in sustainable materials. To expedite progress, Volvo Cars urges EU policymakers to advance the End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) and 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Directives and to standardise emissions accounting methods. Accelerated public and private investments are deemed essential by the automaker in order to bolster recycling and processing efforts.

Unlocking the Potential of EVs to Support the Grid

The integration of renewable energy sources and the electrification of transport present significant challenges to Europe’s ageing electricity grids. Volvo Cars advocates for digitalising these grids and creating a centralised European database for electricity grid fees and taxes. The company also supports the establishment of more local flexibility markets and the implementation of dynamic network charges. Smart and bi-directional charging mechanisms are envisioned as pivotal in enabling electric vehicle (EV) owners to contribute to the energy transition. To realise these goals, Volvo Cars suggests the following actions from EU policymakers:

  • Support the digitalisation of electricity grids and make them smart.
  • Establish a centralised European database for electricity grid fees and taxes.
  • Create more local flexibility markets with easy access across cities and EU countries through a unified system.
  • Promote dynamic network charges and avoid double taxation.
  • Develop harmonised certification for EVs and Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) and streamline approval procedures to connect vehicles to the grid, as the European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) recommended.

Promotion of Free and Fair Trade

Like most multinationals, Volvo Cars calls for the simplification of trade processes and harmonisation across the 27 EU member states. In particular, the company highlights the burden of reporting obligations under the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, advocating for easier and more business-friendly reporting methods. To achieve these aims, Volvo Cars proposes:

  • Harmonized implementation of the Union Customs Code.
  • Facilitation of reporting rules to allow electronic submissions directly from business enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
  • Continued engagement with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to resolve disputes and ensure a level playing field.
  • Building strategic partnerships with countries across the globe.
  • Incorporating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and sustainability criteria into tariffs to promote more sustainable trade and reward the most sustainable companies.

Conclusion

Volvo Cars’ strategic policy recommendations provide a framework for fostering a greener and more competitive European automotive industry. By addressing regulatory fragmentation, supporting digital transformation, promoting sustainability, enhancing grid integration for EVs, and advocating for free and fair trade, these recommendations aim to align EU policy with long-term climate and economic objectives.

LinkedIn
Twitter
WhatsApp
Facebook
Email
Print