The European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM) has been quite vocal in the recent E.U. and U.S. tariff dispute. However, ACEM isn’t just fighting on the international front, it’s also involved in domestic affairs. In December, 2019, the E.U. signed the Green Deal into law, which sets the continent on the path to carbon neutrality by 2050.
The most recent legislative package enacted in July, 2021, sets an even more ambitious goal of reducing emissions by 55 percent by the end of 2030. While the organization and its members recognize the importance of reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants, ACEM recently released a multi-pronged proposition to meet the aggressive goals.
First, the association calls out the disparity between automobiles and two-wheeled vehicles. In the E.U., motorcycles and scooters only account for 2 percent of the vehicles currently registered. On top of the minuscule representation, two-wheeled vehicles only account for a fraction of the CO2 emitted by four-wheeled counterparts. On average, cars expel 2 tons of CO2 per year, while motorcycles and scooters are responsible for one-sixth of that annual amount.
For that reason, ACEM proposes the “right vehicle, right place, right energy” approach to decarbonization. Under the plan, motorcycle manufacturers would take a “multi-pathway” to create lineups based on customer needs, performance, and feasibility. ACEM promotes light, small-capacity models for electrification, as their shorter range and small footprint would suit the resource availability and tight confines of urban environments.
Conversely, leisure-oriented motorcycles such as sport-touring and grand-touring machines wouldn’t benefit from the electrification. Instead, the organization encourages the E.U. to help develop carbon-neutral fuels for internal combustion engines (ICE) until electric batteries and powertrains can handle the range and speed demands of the open road. With such a flexible plan, ACEM believes that the motorcycle industry can continue manufacturing diverse lineups catering to an assortment of energy sources.
To support its plan, ACEM also states that “Euro 3 achieved a considerable 94 percent reduction of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions, and a 50 percent reduction of nitrogen emissions.” It goes on to say that Euro 4 resulted in a 25-percent reduction over Euro 3, and Euro 5 regulations delivered an additional 25-percent cut.
The organization also asserts that “urban mobility accounts for 40 percent of all CO2 emissions of road transport and up to 70% of other pollutants from transport.” With the figures to back up its approach, ACEM’s position seems like a reasonable plan moving forward.
Of course, with electric battery and motor development make strides in recent years, only time will tell if ICE will stick around for the foreseeable future. In addition to more electric and clean fuel models, local governments will also need to help establish the necessary infrastructure, which may be the biggest hurdle to the E.U.’s ambitious decarbonization goals.