Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Clean fleet vehicles in Bremen (Germany)

Result description
The main objective of this measure is to reduce pollution, especially in urban areas, by supporting and promoting CNG as an alternative fuel for vehicles. The awareness of CNG cars should be raised and the market for CNG cars stimulated through various activities and incentives. Specific targets have been set against these objectives. 200 to 250 CNG vehicles should be brought on the streets (through private households, companies and fleet-operators). Awareness campaigns were launched for various target groups.

A strong network has been established in particular with car traders, who are very important opinion makers by transferring their knowledge about CNG cars to prospective buyers. Further focus has been set towards fleet managers and residents living next to the CNG fuelling stations.

The campaign succeeded in supporting the purchase of 250 CNG cars in Bremen in the VIVALDI project. Until October 2005 the local gas provider received more than 300 applications for the allowance to the purchase of a CNG car. 297 were approved. 231 were from commercial users, and 66 from private users. It was not intended to have a balance towards companies rather than private users, but it is probably due to the fact that businesses receive a much higher allowance (2,500 Euros). The campaigners justify the unbalanced support by arguing that business cars have a higher mileage, which makes them a better advertising medium and means that they have a greater impact on the improvement of the urban environment. (The buyers of a car are obliged to show a CNG label on both sides of the car).

Unfortunately, not everyone whose application for the incentive was approved has acted on it, as only 70% of the approved applicants bought a CNG car. In total 160 vehicles have been purchased. The rest of the buyers either have to wait for their purchase, as several manufacturers have already long waiting times for delivery of their vehicles, or have eventually decided to buy another car type. It was also planned to support the purchase of 4 CNG freighters. This scheme failed. The motor industry is offering such vehicles (e.g. DaimlerChrysler/Iveco) but was either not able to deliver them or the prices were too high for running them in the real market.

Who are the end-users of this result?
CNG-vehicles for private households and corporate users: Within VIVALDI, the awareness of CNG as an alternative propulsion technology could be increased (meanwhile more than 25 % of the Bremen population know about the campaign and availability of CNG cars. One focus will be private households, which represent a target group with approximately 18,500 new registered cars per year in Bremen and Bremerhaven. Clean freighters: Freight operators and courier services especially for smaller companies with light trucks up to 3.5 t.

Main innovative features/benefits (technical/commercial success factors)
CNG is an alternative gas with low emission and public support is necessary to introduce this technology in the transport sector because purchasing costs are still higher than for conventional vehicles by up to 10%. The campaigning addresses different target groups: not only private and commercial potential users, but also car traders, taxi organisations, maintenance garages and driving schools. A support network of various partners was established in order to improve actions for stimulating the CNG market and to launch joint actions.

Market or application sectors & possible applications
On the whole the campaigning measures have proven to be very successful. The aim of winning 250 applicants for financially supported CNG vehicles within VIVALDI was reached before the end of the project.

The measures which should stimulate the market were (and still are) necessary in order to meet the demand for information and incentives regarding CNG Cars. This is especially the case with target oriented campaign activities and the creation of local networks, which are very useful steps to develop the market (also without European funding).

Potential barriers
The stimulation of the market for CNG vehicles is highly dependent on actors, which can only partially be addressed by a campaign. Future development mainly depends on the actions of the big players as the motor industry and the energy providers as well as on national policy. However, the evaluation shows that the campaign was successful. This was also recognised by the experts who agreed that campaigning is a crucial condition for the growth of the CNG market. Experts believed that further campaigning would double the number of CNG cars in the next five years compared to a situation without campaigning.

Reported by

ECOLO - Ecology and Communication
Parkallee 14
28209 Bremen
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