European vans to get greener

The figure will fall to 147g/km by 2020 as EU regulations clamp down on older, polluting vans. The Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders welcomed the targets, which will be phased in over the coming years.

"Industry is pleased that the European Parliament has come to a decision on CO2 emission targets for LCVs as vehicle manufacturers are committed to lowering emissions as part of ongoing introductions of low, lower and ultra-low carbon vehicles," said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.

The targets should not be a problem for some of the major van manufacturers in Europe. A new range of electric vans is set to be launched in the next two years, including the Renault Kangoo Z.E. small electric van and the Ford Transit Connect Electric, which will both be on sale in 2012.

Other manufacturers, such as Citroen, have pledged to introduce more frugal and economic engines in its vans to comply with existing EU laws – named ‘Euro 5’.

Similarly, Vauxhall has introduced its low-CO2 range of ecoFLEX engines, first used in its car range on the popular Corsa and Astra, to several of its vans for 2011.

Everitt, however, has called on the government to help van manufacturers meet the new targets. He said: "The UK is well placed to capitalise on low carbon technologies and manufacturers now need government to demonstrate its support for sustained investment in skills, R&D and capital equipment."

Currently, a number of low-CO2 engines are being built in the UK, including Ford’s efficient range of EcoBoost petrol engines which are used in Ford’s new car and van range.