Message from the Secretary General – June 2015
June sees the launch of the 10th EU Sustainable Energy Week. A European Commission initiative, EU Sustainable Energy Week spans 15-19 June, with ‘Energy Days’ also organised over the whole month.
In the EU’s words, “This year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week seeks to inspire consumers, public authorities and other stakeholders to join forces in shaping Europe’s sustainable energy future. By gathering thousands of people and exchanging experiences in all fields, this platform fosters an open debate about the Energy Union and its three pillars:
- Energy efficiency;
- Decarbonising the economy with a focus on renewables;
- Research, Innovation and Competitiveness.
The EU Sustainable Energy Week helps building the energy community that is indispensable for shaping the Energy Union. This is to reply to the expectations of the EU citizens, who in large majority want to see a strong and united approach in energy.”
The European automotive industry has long been working to fulfil its obligations to reduce the energy use from the sector. Across both production and use phases, energy use has fallen as manufacturing methods become cleaner, and vehicles become more fuel efficient.
The automotive sector is the EU’s largest investor in R&D, spending €41.5 billion on innovation annually. Of this, a large part is focused on encouraging the use of cleaner and renewable energy sources in building and using cars, which makes the discussions during EU Sustainable Energy Week particularly relevant to the sector. The industry will continue to invest in clean and alternative powertrains, including electric, hybrid, fuel-cell and natural gas-powered vehicles.
Over the last decade, total energy use in vehicle production has fallen by 14.8% to around 37 million Megawatt hours per year – or about 2.4 Megawatt hours per car produced, down 12.4%. Passenger cars are 33.7% more fuel-efficient today than they were in 1995, with CO2 emissions at 123.4g per kilometre. Vans are on their way to meeting their specific 2020 target, having achieved an average emissions level of 169.2g of CO2 per kilometre in 2014. Finally, heavy commercial vehicles have, since 1965, reduced their fuel consumption by some 60% per tonne of goods carried. All of this progress is proof of the auto industry’s ongoing commitment.
Part of the aim of the EU Sustainable Energy Week is to encourage joined-up thinking when determining European energy generation and use in the future. This integrated approach includes many of the aims that the automotive sector has long called for. In ensuring that stakeholders work together to reduce the impact of energy, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association hopes that EU Sustainable Energy Week will continue to highlight what has already been achieved, and what more can be done.