EC Releases Communication on European Strategy for Clean and Energy-efficient Vehicles; Special Focus on EVs
The European Commission recently released a Communication to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee on a European strategy for encouraging the development and uptake of clean and energy-efficient heavy- (buses and trucks) and light-duty vehicles (cars and vans) as well as two- and three-wheelers and quadricycles.
Currently, transport is responsible for about a quarter of EU CO2 emissions and also contributes significantly to reduced air quality (particulate matter, NOx, HC and CO) and related health problems, in particular in urban areas.
The strategy builds on the existing 2007 strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light-duty commercial vehicles, and complements ongoing and planned activities to decarbonize transport and to reduce their environmental impacts. While it is limited to road transport, road vehicles and the mid-term perspective, it supports the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80-95% by 2050.
The authors note that technological developments in green automotive propulsion technologies can/should have spin-offs to maritime, air, heavy-duty vehicles, urban and light rail transport modes.
The strategy aims to provide a technology-neutral policy framework. Two tracks need to be followed simultaneously, the EC says:
- Promoting clean and energy efficient vehicles based on conventional internal combustion engines;
- Facilitating the deployment of breakthrough technologies in ultra-low-carbon vehicles.
The strategy considers three main types of powertrains:
Combustion engines burning alternative fuels such as liquid biofuels and gaseous fuels (including LPG, CNG and biogas).
Electric vehicle technology. Pure electric vehicles appear to be most promising for urban use, given the relatively limited range provided by batteries and the potentially better cost-benefit ratio of deploying recharging infrastructure first in cities. Lower pollutant and noise emissions also have the biggest social, including health benefits in urban areas.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. These can also deliver similar environmental benefits to battery electric vehicles. The development and deployment of battery and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is therefore mutually complementary as they share many similar electrical drivetrain components, the EC communication says.
In addition to outlining EC activities on regulatory frameworks; supporting research and innovation in green technologies; and taking measures to encourage market uptake, the communication outlined a number of specific actions for electric vehicles, including:
Placement in the market. Working together with international partners at the UNECE to propose electric safety requirements for vehicle type-approval in 2010; review other type-approval requirements covered by Directive 2007/46/EC by 2011; and review crash safety requirements and consider whether the quietness of these vehicles is potentially dangerous to vulnerable road users by 2012.
Standardization. Within the framework of Directive 98/34/EC22, the EC will mandate the European standardization bodies in 2010 to develop by 2011 a standardized charging interface to ensure interoperability and connectivity between the electricity supply point and the charger of the electric vehicle; to address safety risks and electromagnetic compatibility; and to consider smart charging (the possibility for users to take advantage of the use of electricity during off-peak hours.
Infrastructure. The Commission will provide a leading role in working with Member States at national and regional level on the build-up of charging and refuelling infrastructure in the EU; and explore with the European Investment Bank how to provide funding to stimulate investment in infrastructure and services build-up for green vehicles.
Energy, power generation and distribution. The Commission will determine and compare the environmental and carbon footprint of vehicles (internal combustion engine, electric, gas fueled vehicles and hydrogen) based on a life cycle approach; evaluate 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 already expected from meeting the requirements of the Renewable Energy Directive; and evaluate the impact of the increased requirement for low-carbon electricity on the supply system and on the grid.
Recycling and transportation of batteries. The Commission will consider what changes may need to be made to existing legislation in relation to the recycling of batteries and end of life vehicles to adjust to the new market circumstances; promote European research programs on recycling and reusing of batteries; and review options for changing the rules on transporting batteries after carefully evaluating the costs and potential risks.
The global car fleet is predicted to grow from 800 million to 1.6 billion vehicles by 2030. This doubling of the global car fleet calls for a step change in technology to ensure sustainable mobility in the long term in view of the goal of decarbonizing transport. The strategy should therefore help European industry lead the world in deploying alternative propulsion technologies. The global trend towards sustainable transport shows that the European automotive industry can only remain competitive by leading in green technologies.
This requires a progressive shift from today’s situation. A new industrial approach based on clean and energy efficient vehicles will boost the competitiveness of the European industry, provide new jobs in the automotive industry and in other sectors in the supply chain and support restructuring. Hence this initiative builds on the European green cars initiative which was launched as a part of the European Economic Recovery Plan in November 2008.
—“A European strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles”
A European strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles (COM(2010)186 final)