EU industry groups unite in cleaner car quest

Oil, motor, sectors aim to avoid conflict through joint research into post-2005 standards

Europe's oil and automobile industries have signed a landmark agreement on long-term research cooperation to develop cleaner vehicles. Brokered by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), the deal is intended to avoid the bitter inter-industry disputes which marred the EU's collaborative Auto/Oil I programme (ENDS Daily 2 July 1998).

Eucar and Concawe, the research arms of the car and oil industries respectively, today signed a memorandum of understanding, pledging to work with the JRC's Institute for Advanced Materials in Petten, the Netherlands. Under the programme, the two sides will jointly execute projects on low-emission engine, lubricant and fuel technologies. The projects will all look at developments likely to come about after 2005, when euro IV emissions and fuel quality norms will take effect. The partners say they currently have no fixed emissions reduction objectives beyond this point.

The agreement will "support the competitiveness of European industry and EU legislation regarding emission control," the memorandum says. Commission officials said the accord was the first example of two industries with such opposing interests engaging so closely in research. It follows a rapprochement between the two industries last year (ENDS Daily 25 January 1999) after their bruising rows during the Auto/Oil I process.

The "significance and intention of this agreement is to underpin a facts-based approach to future legislation," said JRC head Herbert Allgeier. He said the Auto/Oil process had produced disagreement because it was about "how to exploit the present situation," while what he called the new "pre-competition" collaboration would eliminate differences in the interpretation of research. The arrangement would eventually lead to "cooperative design of engine and fuels," a Eucar spokesman said.

The projects will include "well-to-wheel" life-cycle analyses of conventional and alternative fuels with various engine types. Although the cooperation will initially run for three years for Commission budgeting reasons, officials said the work was likely to extend well beyond that time. Costs will be determined on a project-by-project basis.

Follow Up:
Institute for Advanced Materials, tel: +31 224 56 51 59; Concawe, tel: +32 2 220 3111, Eucar, tel: +32 2 738 7353.

Please sign in to access this article. To subscribe, view our subscription options, or take out a free trial.

Please enter your details

Forgotten password?

Having trouble signing in?

Contact Customer Support at
or call 020 8267 8120

Not a subscriber?

Take a free trial now to discover the critical insights and updates our coverage offers subscribers.