On 13 June 2019, the Council of the European Union adopted a new Directive on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles, following the provisional agreement reached with the European Parliament on 11 February 2019. The new rules, entering into force 20 days after their publication on the Official Journal of the European Union, set out minimum procurement targets at national level for clean light-duty vehicles (cars and vans) and heavy-duty vehicles (trucks and buses), and aim at increasing market certainty, stimulating innovation and promoting the global competitiveness of European industry.

Innovating with respect to the previous EU rules on the promotion of clean vehicles in public procurement, dating back to 2009, the new Directive extends the scope of the new rules in terms of the procurement practices covered. Moreover, the new rules will also apply to a wider range of services, including public road transport ones, special-purpose passenger ones, refuse collection, and postal and parcel delivery ones.

The adopted text includes a new definition of a ‘clean vehicle’ based on CO2emission standards, with a zero CO2emission threshold from 2026 onwards, and on the use of alternative fuels for clean heavy-duty vehicles. In addition, there are sub-targets for zero-emission buses.

This way, clean vehicles will contribute to cut greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutant emissions, helping the EU to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, and pointing it towards one of its primary objectives, namely being a world leader in decarbonisation.