Volkswagen AG has opened its CO2 pool in the EU further at the end of last year to include more manufacturers. The new pooling partners all make electric vehicles.
Take the Chinese newcomer Aiways, whose BEVs will now add to Volkswagen’s “efforts” in keeping in line with the EU emission regulations as the company drives forward European expansion. Other new members to the CO2 pool include the British London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), which belongs to the Geely Group. There is also Next.e.Go, the successor to the Aachen-based electric car manufacturer e.Go Mobile, Schmidt Automotive Research cites European Commission documents.
The so-called CO2 pooling is a controversial method of avoiding fines given tightening carbon emission fleet values in the EU. Essentially it undercuts the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and allows companies to count their fleets as one.
The latest move follows efforts that intensified in 2020 when the SAIC brands MG Motor and SAIC Motors Europe joined the Volkwagen pool to run through 2022. They would later extend the cooperation to include light commercial vehicles.
The reason remained slightly obscure at the time. Volkswagen Group was expected to be CO2 compliant in 2020 with a late push during the final four months of the year from newly introduced models such as the ID.3, ID.4 and new PHEV models. The 95g/km target in 2020 was also relatively easy, especially with the full amount of so-called super credits available for vehicles with emissions levels under 51g/km during this period.
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However, Volkswagen confirmed in an investor call in December 2020 and a follow-up email to Schmidt Automotive Research that they expect to miss EU CO2 compliance by “just under 1g/km” in 2020 but expect to be compliant from 2021 onwards – apparently with the help of new members.
For the new member LEVC, the move indicates Volkswagen getting ready to trade in the UK post-Brexit and reach the separate fleet target. Most of the Group’s sales in Britain are through Bentley, meaning CO2 intensive cars. LEVC will now add to this pool of greener cars. The Geely-owned company sells around 2,000 range extender London black cabs or vans, in the UK in a normal year, according to SMMT data. In the UK, pool partner MG also adds to the Volkswagen fleet.
For the relatively small but purely electric Next.e.Go company, and the relationship is not new. Volkswagen once entertained plans prior to the startup’s insolvency to build the ID.Buggy together, then based on the MEB platform. These have since been cancelled.
The company has since been saved from bankruptcy by a Dutch investor and will trade as Next.e.Go in future as reported. They said in December, production at the main plant in Germany would start in early 2021. They also signed an agreement with the Greek government to set up a second series production facility and work with ZF as the e.Go Moove joint venture.
Volkswagen is of course, not the only carmaker that CO2 pools. Tesla has been trading zero-emission credits for a long time, most recently with Ford. Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi also run a joint pool that is open for manufacturers to join.