European industry ministers in an EU Competitiveness Council meeting in Brussels yesterday voiced their support for the European Commission’s strategy for clean and energy-efficient vehicles, which was published last month (earlier post).
In addition, the ministers, in their communication, urged European standardization bodies to develop, as a matter of priority by mid-2011, a harmonized solution for the interoperability between electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure and to address safety risks and electromagnetic compatibility.
The ministers stressed that standardization should also consider smart charging with respect to the electric vehicle charger. The European standardization bodies should take into account existing technical solutions and ongoing work at international standardization bodies, the ministers said, and the international promotion of EU standards should continue.
...standardization of interfaces in view of the interoperability between electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure is of key importance in order to ensure that electric vehicles can be recharged, domestically or at public station points without difficulty within the territory of the EU and with the use of any electric vehicle charger. This is a prerequisite for consumer acceptance and, subsequently, the mass market uptake of electric vehicles.—“Conclusions on clean and energy-efficient vehicles”
The ministers encouraged Member States to adopt and implement the harmonized solution as soon as possible, and the industry to agree on its application via a Memorandum of Understanding or another equivalent method.
In further comments on the EC strategy, the ministers urged all stakeholders to use electricity generated from safe and sustainable sources of energy, including renewables, for charging electric vehicles by smart meters and building of smart grids, while recognizing differences in energy sectors of Member States.
The ministers acknowledged that the infrastructure for slow-charging is partly available, but needs to be further developed in areas accessible to the public and also to allow fast-charging, drawing lessons from the pilot projects carried out in this field and fostering their interconnection. The ministers welcomed the intention of the Commission to launch an EU-wide electromobility demonstration project in 2011, which could integrate national pilot projects across borders.
In other reaction to the EC strategy, the ministers:
Stressed that the research portfolio of different technologies should not be narrowed.
Stressed the need to focus on research excellence in order to ensure that alternative powertrains receive targeted research financing, including innovative energy storage and conversion technologies, such as batteries, fuel cells and the necessary respective infrastructure. They also stressed the need to support breakthrough improvements in internal combustion engines, further step-change improvements to the performance of conventional vehicles and exploring the opportunities offered by mild hybridization of conventional vehicles, aerodynamics improvement and weight reduction.
Emphasized that electric vehicles (including full electric and plug-in hybrids) will soon be ready for market introduction and that hydrogen vehicles remain a valid ultra-low-carbon mobility option in the medium-term perspective, as affordability of the car and of the fuel is achieved. They also noted that hydrogen vehicles and electric vehicles are mutually complementary.
Called on the Commission to consult Member States and stakeholders and to rapidly come up with guidelines on potential financial incentives for consumers to buy green vehicles in order to stimulate the market uptake of clean and energy-efficient vehicles, without giving preference to any particular technology as well as exploring the potential of public procurement and of grouped purchases for large vehicle fleets within the existing legal framework for public procurement. Non-financial incentives, at national or regional level, could also be explored by the relevant actors.
Recognized the need for the implementation of the Raw Materials Initiative in order to ensure access to, recycling and recovery of indispensable materials, including rare earth elements and notably lithium reflecting their importance for the production of alternative power-train components, inter alia, batteries.