European strategy for electric vehicles launched


Antonio Tajani,
EC Vice-President
Brussels, Belgium — (METERING.COM) — May 13, 2010 – The European Union has set out a policy aimed at encouraging the development and uptake of electric and other “green” vehicles.

The eight point plan comprising some 40 specific actions is intended to move from short term recovery measures to providing a medium to long term orientation and proposes two simultaneous tracks, i.e. promoting clean and energy efficient vehicles based on conventional internal combustion engines, and facilitating the deployment of breakthrough technologies in ultra-low-carbon vehicles. It aims to cover all types of vehicles from heavy duty buses and trucks to cars and vans as well as two- and three-wheelers and quadricycles.

Among the proposed actions for electric vehicles is the development of a standardized charging interface for Europe, with a mandate for European standardization bodies to be set in 2010 for development of a standard by 2011. Smart charging and the possibility for users to take advantage of the use of electricity during off peak hours should also be considered in standardization.

Further the EU should take a leading role by working with member states at national and regional levels on the build-up of charging infrastructures, while the European Investment Bank should explore how to provide funding to stimulate build-up for these vehicles.

On the research side the impact of the increased requirement for low carbon electricity for vehicle charging on the supply system and on the grid needs to be evaluated. It should also be evaluated whether the promotion of electric vehicles leads to the additional provision of low carbon electricity generation via the promotion of low carbon energy sources to ensure that the electricity consumed by electric vehicles does not go to the detriment of low carbon electricity that would already be available.

“In 2010, the automotive industry enters into a defining phase for its future success,” said EC vice-president Antonio Tajani. “The new European strategy will provide a supportive framework.”

Electric vehicles are expected to remain a niche market in the near future, with sales expected to expand as battery technologies improve. For battery electric vehicles a market share in new car sales is forecast of 1 to 2 percent in 2020 rising to 11 to 30 percent in 2030, while for plug-in hybrid vehicles a share of 2 percent is forecast in 2020 rising to 5 to 20 percent by 2030.