26 Apr 23

European Commission enforces fleet EV procurement in Bulgaria

The importance of European governments setting a positive national example for vehicle electrification by adopting ultra-low and zero emission vehicles for their own public sector fleets has been underlined by a legal case brought by the European Commission against Bulgaria.

The Commission has referred Bulgaria to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to adopt (‘transpose’) EU rules for setting minimum national targets for the public procurement of clean vehicles into its national legislation.

Clean Vehicles Directive

The Clean Vehicles Directive sets minimum requirements for public sector fleets to acquire clean vehicles, defined as light-duty vehicles with CO2 emissions below 50g/km (until the end of 2025), and 0g/km from 1 January 2026.

According to the Commission: “The Directive mobilises public procurement to accelerate the rollout of clean vehicles, contributing to the decarbonisation of the transport sector and to the improvement of air quality in EU cities, while providing stable demand and long-term certainty to vehicle manufacturers, transport operators and investors.”

EV targets

In Bulgaria’s case, the Directive requires at least 17.6% of all light-duty vehicles, 7% of all trucks and 34% of all urban buses procured between 2 August 2021 and 31 December 2025 to be clean vehicles. In addition, at least 17% of all urban buses procured during the same period must have zero tailpipe emissions.

Bulgaria was supposed to implement the new law by 2 August 2021, and its failure to do so now jeopardises its clean vehicle procurement targets for 2021-25.

“This would in turn result in a slower rollout of clean vehicles, in addition to higher greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions,” said the Commission.

The Court of Justice has the power to impose financial penalties on Bulgaria for non-compliance with the Directive.


Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Jonathan Manning