Last week Volkswagen announced improvements to its new cars that will reduce their emissions by enough to beat existing EU legislation. Are we surprised? Are we stunned?
Not really. It’s not the success we are looking for, we’re still a long way from that. But there’s no doubt about it: a massive part of this is down to half a million Jedi demanding that VW lives up to its green claims.
It is not strange that VW can beat their legal emission target set for 2015. Most carmakers are already doing better than the law requires, according to the latest numbers. And so for many of the companies, these targets have become obsolete. They are already heading for the EU’s target for 2020.
The really important news is that VW is shouting about this in a major public relations blitz. Three years after its lobbyists insisted that deeper emission cuts are impossible, it publicly commits to making those greater cuts, thereby embarrassing those politicians who naively heeded its earlier bout of crying wolf. With its announcement, VW is basically admitting that it has fooled those EU decision makers – or that its statements carry a short best-before date.
This year, the EU’s car emission standard is being reviewed. Decision makers will fix the implementation details of the 2020 target and set out further CO2 cuts beyond that date. VW is singing the same old tune, complaining that the 2020 target is ‘not based on sound impact assessment nor on a realistic appreciation of the costs and technical progress necessary to meet the goal within the timescale'. This statement dates back to 2010. We wonder what is the best-before date on that?
We asked VW last Friday to tell us about their plans beyond 2015 – What cars for 2020? VW has committed to doing better than the EU standard for 2015. It should also back the EU’s 2020 standard and a further standard of 60g CO2/km by 2025.
So the rebellion against VW’s dark side continues until the firm becomes what it claims it wants to - the greenest car company in the world.