2022 Can Be the Breakthrough Year for E-mobility in Europe But We need To Get It Right
The aspiration of moving to fully electric road transport has been driving research and innovation in Europe for decades. Finally, the last ten years show that this ambition will soon be a reality. Driven by the invention of the lithium battery in the mid- 2000s, battery electric vehicles have made gigantic leaps forwards, and consumers and value chains alike have embraced them.
More than 3 million electric vehicles were on European roads at the start of 2022, supported by a capillary network of charging infrastructures of 370.000+ charging points. These numbers are only going to grow: EV sales share increased close to four times between 2019 and 2021. New private charging points in homes and offices are being installed every day. Ever-improving charging technologies make public charging a seamless experience of a few minutes.
AVERE, the European Association of Electromobility, can only be delighted by this momentous evolution. We have been working on supporting the mass electrification of transport since 1978. Our decades of experience have made us recognise the recent years as the cusp of real change.
The electric revolution is not happening out of luck, but out of a combination of technological innovation and a dire need to decarbonise transport. Climate change is a dreadful reality that can bring forward disastrous changes in our economies and societies. It is a danger to the health and wealth of all of us.
It is why we have set our vision for the coming decades with clear milestone goals for the European Union: 100% new zero-emissions vehicles by 2030, a fully decarbonised European road transport by 2050 and making Europe a world leader in electromobility.
The path to achieving these goals must be taken as soon as possible. 2022 is a fundamental year when we must ensure the European Union stays on the right track and takes the correct actions.
It should be said the European Union, through the new legislative package Fit for 55, has already made a few appropriate steps, but more is needed.
The Commission’s initiative to revise the EU’s CO2 standards for cars and vans sets a date for the phase-out of the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to 2035. However, we believe it should be brought forward to 2030 whilst ensuring a smooth transition trajectory by bringing the 2030 intermediate target to 2027. We also argue that the revision needs to remove existing loopholes such as relaxations for polluting hybrids and inefficient heavier cars.
The phase-out year of internal combustion engines is only one of the priorities that the legislative package must address. One of the most crucial developments was the legislation’s shift concerning charging infrastructures from a Directive – the AFID – to a European Regulation – the AFIR. This new Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation will set binding targets for charging infrastructure rollout at the member state level.
These are two of the main improvements to legislation we have been campaigning for. Together with our members and partners, we engage in a dialogue with the European Parliament and the Member States to improve the proposals. Failure to improve upon them is likely to delay the timely decarbonisation of Europe.
The dialogues with policymakers, involving the whole value chain and the broader civil society, are essential to our objectives. We want policies to adequately support the transition to electrified transport and build in decision makers a clear understanding and acceptance of the fact that it is the most efficient solution when it comes to making sustainable mobility a reality.
In our dialogues, we emphasise that the only viable way to decarbonise the road transport sector, whilst safeguarding jobs and EU competitiveness, is to commit to the total direct electrification of the road transport sector, using 100% battery electric vehicles. We have come to this conclusion by looking at the many peer-reviewed scientific studies, reports and best practices that we have access to thanks to our extensive academic network, for example those published in the World Electric Vehicles Journal.
Transitional fossil fuel solutions only delay the process. As for other methods, direct electrification is the most efficient energy use. It does not involve its transformation from one state to another, and it tackles other issues beyond decarbonisation, like air quality.
Furthermore, electric cars are technologically mature, and mass deployment has begun. It would just disrupt markets and create uncertainty in consumers and producers alike to support technologies that are considerably behind in both development and deployment.
We need to be alert to respond to the needs of the industry and not block it with an uncommitted approach. Vehicle producers require a resilient and sustainable value chain to match the demand for EVs of millions of consumers. They need to be sure of the political commitment to set down strategies, for example, to ensure a steady supply of readily available and sustainably sourced materials.
In 2022, this will be the thirty-fifth edition of the Electric Vehicles Symposium. EVS35 will take place in Oslo, Norway, on June 11-15. It will bring together all the actors mentioned above and more, including scientists and researchers, to discuss the future of e-mobility. They will discuss a wide range of topics that will include, among others, EV infrastructure, charge points, EV motors research, and battery developments. You can find us at Hall D/ Booth D05-05. We look forward to continuing at EVS35 the discussion to get the mass deployment of e-mobility right, and we look forward to celebrating 2022 as the year when critical decisions were taken that guaranteed a sustainable future for European transport.