Boosting the Electric Vehicle Market in Europe: Plugging the Sustainability Gap
ransport is currently responsible for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, making it the second largest polluter after the energy industry. Within Europe’s transport sector, 94% of those emissions come from road transport, particularly light-duty vehicles, according to the European Commission. With stringent targets on emissions agreed following the Paris Agreement in 2015, the electric vehicle market represents a fast moving and innovative alternative in what could be the beginning of the end for traditional combustion-powered cars. Revolutions in green technology and automation are driving the future of auto mobility, making a boom in electric vehicles more likely now than ever before.
European Institutions have been key players in encouraging the uptake of cleaner and more efficient vehicles, championing a European strategy and securing financial support through public-private partnerships such as the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI). 2017 is now set to be decisive year for the roll-out of electric recharging infrastructure, in light of the timely submission of Member States’ National Policy Frameworks for the implementation of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFI). The AFI Directive seeks to address consumer anxieties through the deployment of private recharging points, mandating an increase in publicly accessible charging stations and setting EU-wide harmonised standards for charging connectors as well as for user information requirements. These policies support the EU Transport 2050 comprehensive strategy, which set ambitious shifts away from conventionally fuelled cars with the aim of phasing them out of cities completely by 2050.
The automobile industry, which accounts for over 12 million jobs in the EU, will need to rapidly adapt to such a shift in the European economy. Developing innovative solutions to diversify road transport energy sources will not only maintain competitiveness and boost employment, but simultaneously contribute to Europe’s emission reductions. Several important developments have taken place assisting the rollout of a European-wide market for electric and alternative vehicles, though as with any emerging market, some initial problems have hindered its expansion.
Outstanding challenges include a slow consumer uptake, along with a limited range of models available. High costs, long recharge times, emerging safety and standardisation compliance, and a lack of information and awareness, can impact consumer confidence. Further, cooperation between stakeholders, and the question of integrating EV with emerging technologies such as driverless cars and intelligent urban transportation systems, is creating an additional headache for policymakers.
This international symposium invites all key stakeholders for lively discussion on the current framework for electric vehicles and to explore solutions to overcome market barriers whilst plugging the sustainability gap. The symposium will explore the need for flexible partnerships between diverse industries, such as telecommunication, energy providers, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers, to develop innovative solutions across all areas of EV policy and ensure Europe remains a driver of green growth and jobs.