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Electric Vehicle Initiative Launched at Clean Energy Ministerial in Washington DC

At the Clean Energy Ministerial in Washington, DC, 19-20 July, ministers reaffirmed their commitment to previously-announced targets for the deployment of electric vehicles, which the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates will create global market momentum leading to at least 20 million electric vehicles on the road worldwide by 2020.

In support of those targets, the ministers are launching the Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI), which will provide a forum for global cooperation on the development and deployment of electric vehicles, and accelerating their commercial uptake. As of 20 July, participating governments include China, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Other initial partners include the International Energy Agency.

Electric vehicles have become a strategic focus of the automotive industry during recent years, but the technology is still nascent in the global marketplace. EVI is a government-led global initiative that will collaborate with relevant industry, academic, and end-user stakeholders to scale-up electric vehicle sales. Participating countries agree to:

  1. Launch a pilot cities program to promote electric vehicles demonstrations in urban areas;

  2. Share information, as appropriate, on funding levels and other features of research and development programs on electric vehicle technologies to ensure their collective investments are strategically addressing the most crucial global gaps in vehicle technology development; and,

  3. Share information, as appropriate, on electric vehicle deployment targets, as well as best practices and policies, to enable progress toward those targets.

Pilot cities. Participating countries will establish pilot projects in several cities for the demonstration of electric vehicles in public transportation and government use. Participating countries may also share experiences from existing pilot projects.

The specific technologies that will be the focus of the pilots may include hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), all-electric vehicles (AEVs), and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).

Each participating government will share experiences from at least one of its cities that pilots electric vehicles in the public transportation sector or in government fleets. In addition, those governments will share relevant information and data from the pilot with participating governments, manufacturers of automobiles and associated parts, power plants, and research institutes, and seek active engagement from the private sector. The primary objectives of the pilot are:

  1. Promoting cooperation on the research and development, demonstration, and commercialization of electric vehicles;
  2. Sharing experience in policy, management, data analysis, and publicity, etc. to support the scale-up of electric vehicles;
  3. Exploring universal standards for vehicle evaluation, infrastructure, and communication protocols; and
  4. Conducting analyses of the demonstrations, including cost-effectiveness assessments.

To lead off the effort, China is organizing an International Forum on Electric Vehicle Demonstration Cities, as well as building a “demonstration zone” in one of its pilot cities as a platform for the pilot.

Strategic Public Investment in Electric Vehicle Innovation. In its December 2009 Global Gaps in Clean Energy RD&D report, IEA identified electric vehicles as the clean energy category for which the gap between innovation needs and public research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) investment is most severe.

In this context, Ministers participating in EVI will share information on public investment levels in RD&D for electric vehicles in order to maximize the innovation benefits from scarce RD&D investment. Ministers will also look for opportunities for strategic RD&D cooperation to spur progress in the global electric vehicles industry through, for example, focusing on the most critical global gaps and encouraging joint research where appropriate. These efforts will help catalyze the technological innovation that will be critical to achieving participating countries’ deployment targets.

Information Sharing on Targets and Best Practices. As sales and production targets for electric vehicles are established and pursued, it will be helpful for governments to work together (involving the private sector and other stakeholders as appropriate) in order to learn from others’ successes and failures, as well as to address universal issues that affect the deployment of electric vehicles. For example, sharing information on targets may help governments to understand how their plans relate to those of other countries, which will help them to anticipate, and thereby hopefully avoid, supply-side shortages.

In addition, there is also the need for a dialogue on the interconnection of electric vehicles, which would likely involve reaching out to the International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN), which was also launched at the Clean Energy Ministerial. More generally, EVI will lead an ongoing and structured dialogue to enable countries to identify and adopt best-practice deployment policies and programs that help them to cost effectively reach their own respective targets.

Structure. EVI will be a forum for high-level government dialog on the development and deployment of plug-in vehicles. The initiative will be implemented and coordinated through an Advisory Group with representatives from each participating country, as well as from the IEA. EVI will explore opportunities to build upon existing international initiatives.

EVI commenced at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Washington, DC. Participating countries pledged to continue discussions through high-level roundtables organized by the IEA during the Paris Motor Show in Fall 2010 and the Shanghai Motor Show in Spring 2011.

Other Initiatives. Ministers from 24 governments participating in the Clean Energy Ministerial launched 11 new initiatives, including EVI, to accelerate the global transition to clean energy. Participating governments account for more than 80% of global energy consumption and a similar percentage of the market for clean energy technologies.

The following governments participated in the Clean Energy Ministerial: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Other initiatives launched at the Clean Energy Ministerial include:

  1. Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD)
  2. Global Superior Energy Performance (GSEP) Partnership
  3. International Smart Grid Action Network (ISGAN)
  4. Clean Energy Solutions Centers
  5. Carbon Capture, Use, and Storage (CCUS) Action Group
  6. Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group
  7. Sustainable Development of Hydropower Initiative
  8. Multilateral Bioenergy Working Group
  9. Solar and LED Energy Access Program (SLED)
  10. Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C-3E) Women’s Initiative



With 20 million electrified vehicles (out of 2 billion vehicles) on the roads by 2020 the world may be have gone about 10% of the way. If that electrification rate is maintained it may take up to 8 decades to fully transition out of ICE machines. Major changes introduction have a natural tendency to change tempo after the initial period (decade in this case). The second decade may see a 20% market penetration and the third decade may do even better. Electrified vehicles and e-storage units may be so superior to traditional ICE vehicles by 2040 that they will capture most of the market. Driving ICE vehicles after 2040 may be the lot of very few people.


Running out of cheap oil will in my view lead to a much faster rate of change, although within the context of much lower overall car totals due both to oil supply restrictions and the present financial wasteland in the OECD.


As warm and fuzzy as this initiative sounds the e-vehicle portion of it rings hollow. What this Ministries group is trying to do is 1) add a bureaucratic layer to the global electrification process and 2) agreeing to share sales figures. How many thousands of government bureaucrats will it take to do this??

IEA, ISGAN, etc. and other global bureaucrats simply get in the way of innovation and market cooperation already in progress. While these type global initiatives sound productive - we have yet to see them produce much of real value - outside paper pushing jobs for their employees.

There is a red flag arising from attempts to homogenize sovereign action into international action. Why should France have to use the same EV solutions used in Russia or Hong Kong or San Francisco?? We would much rather see how separate individual nations utilize their own resources to produce solutions best suited for their populations. We are NOT all the same people. We have cultural, hereditary and environmental differences requiring different solutions and applications to socio-political issues.

We do support efforts to speed the transition to electrified transportation but caution against the invention of AD-ministers at public expense. The expense of these ministers will be passed on to the customer.

This looks like more of the misbegotten 'One World Government' idea that has already failed to garner human acceptance. It will continue to do so simply because these ideas refuse to acknowledge the unique diversity of cultures. Success in human endeavor is borne by the strengths of its diversity.

We are many different people under one big sky - our efforts should acknowledge, enhance and encourage that diversity whilst administering sovereign solutions. Viva la differeance!



Some 400 years ago we had less than 1 M people with over 520 governments and almost as many languages in Canada alone. Wars and hostage taking were brutal and very frequent. Progress was very slow. One Federal government and 12+ Provincial/Territorial governments currently govern over 34 M people with a much lower crime rate and relative well being.

United States of America (USA) did about the same with slightly more financial prosperity (up to 2006?) but with much higher crime rate and less general well being.

Europe, after many thousand years of frequent long wars, is in the process of putting in common many government responsibilities. A United Europe, though very difficult to manage, will prosper while avoiding future wars.

When properly done, regrouping people of different back grounds, may be a way to raise the well being factor of the one with less opportunities. It does not have to be negative.



Agreed, there is a limit to the productivity of tribal culture if differences mandate hostilities. We are interested in eliminating hostilities by fertilizing common ground - while encouraging different solutions to technical and social issues. Some 400 years ago Hudson Bay Co. established trading with Euro and First nations trappers. The common market brought together hundreds of diverse tribes in the interest of trade.

This is precisely what we suggest should be encouraged across the global economy. While an overarching political structure as in federal governments in democracy must serve the diversity of nation/states - it must NOT be allowed to rule. Which is the danger we approach today. Governments top heavy with bureaucrats fail to recall they are empowered and work for the people.

The common market represents a global forum into which all people can submit ideas and products. The selection of those products and their relative success depends on how well they serve the people. This is subverted when monopolies (energy, banking cartels) manipulate the market in their own interest. Governments should be charged with protecting access to such markets on an equitable basis - not necessarily making rules.

Allowing unique individual approaches to problems and solutions is the business of international forums on trade. The human experience will be severely constrained if when we travel to China we find the exact same technology and culture we do in London, Paris, Bangkok or Sydney. To lose the diversity of culturally inspired imagination is a far greater tragedy than managing sovereign differences. The two must be carefully considered in our evolution and enlightenment.


Last I heard the Eurozone may in fact fall apart with the Germans going back to the DM. The voters are totally pissed with the politicians who have rammed the EU down people's throats.



The United States tried a confederacy of sovereign states first, but found it did not work. So they went to a Federal government, but some people did not like that, and we fought a civil war over that. Standardizing approaches to certain issues (like rail guage, electric transmission, highway standards, etc.) has advantages.


The Swiss have successfully managed a confederation of different groups with different languages for 1000+ years without major internal civil wars. The USA democracy experience is over 230 years old with only one major civil war. Unchecked free enterprise, greed and white collar crimes etc are currently undermining the USA experience. The Canadian Federation experience is only 143 years old and is (with few exceptions) falling into the USA footsteps and could face the same problems soon.

Unchecked free enterprise, greed, crimes and corruption are what brought previous democracy experiences down, not effective rules and regulations.


Not having rules fairly enforced is like having a sporting event with no rules and no officials. We all some idea of what that might be like. Take down all the speed signs and see how the private sector free market get the idea.


"Standardizing approaches to certain issues (like rail guage, electric transmission, highway standards, etc.) has advantages."

Yes. And that is what should be proposed by these ad-ministers. However, taking a separate route as France has done with energy strengthens the global community by demonstrating a successful choice - 80% nuclear generated at home. Denmark is attempting to increase their wind-based grid mix and we are learning from their experience. China is plowing down the cheap energy road with hundreds of coal fired plants and a few giant dam/hydro projects. We will all learn and suffer environmental consequences because of that.

Frankly, a group like this EVI, should encourage regional solutions to EV introductions and infrastructures. If the Israelis are keen on battery swap stations ala Better Place - support that. Let's see how it works out for them. If the Germans want to give tax breaks to employers allowing free charging at work - let's see how that works. If Spain wants to build an inductive charging highway lane for EV owners - cool. How's that working out?

Standardization is great. But look to consumer electronics for a clue as to how long standards are of value in today's product evolution environment. Standards are outdated the day they go into effect. Innovation is the fruit of diversity and diversity is the heart of human experience.

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