Denmark has very ambitious climate targets, as exemplified by the Danish government’s target of becoming independent of fossil fuels by 2050 – including in the transport sector. Due to their high level of energy efficiency, and ability to utilise electricity produced from renewable sources, electric drive vehicles are likely to play a prominent role in achieving this long-term goal.
However, Denmark is a small country with no automotive industry, and therefore the potential for reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions within the transport sector depends on international trends, both in terms of the availability and affordability of transport technologies, and the development of policies to promote these technologies.
Given that Danish national electric vehicle (EV) related initiatives and incentive schemes will have a limited effect on overall EV development and market penetration, the primary objective of this report is to identify and provide recommendations regarding EU level measures and incentives that can promote EV diffusion. As the EU policies towards 2020 have already been decided, the focus of the study is the post 2020 period.
Given the long-term EU goals and targets, of the options reviewed above, the most attractive systems appear to be the adoption of an EU industry mandated EV/PHEV/HEV credit system similar to that in place in California. This electric drive credit system could run in parallel with the current CO2 emissions target system, (it would however likely be advisable to remove the current super credit system, as it would be overly burdensome to have two credit systems in place). Having both a mandated electric drive credit system and a CO2 emissions target system in place would allow the EU to continue to control the level of CO2 emissions from new vehicles (thus reducing short/medium term CO2 emissions dominated by ICEs), while at the same time also ensuring that a growing amount of electric drive vehicles are being developed and brought to market. While these two systems would be running in parallel, they would also be linked due to the fact that the electric drive vehicles will also count toward the CO2 emission requirements.
The primary reasons for selecting this particular policy tool rather than some of the others reviewed are:
- The system would not confer a significant economic burden on the EU country governments.
- The system has proven to be effective in promoting EV diffusion and meeting specific targets in other regions.
- The system allows for EVs to be sold in those countries where it is most attractive for the automobile manufacturers to do so. Notwithstanding potential resistance from the automobile industry, it would be relatively straight forward to implement on an EU level.
- Individual countries with more aggressive EV targets can still utilise more specific tools such as public procurement, or economic incentives such as those in Norway.
Preferably, the industry mandated EV targets should be developed in accordance with a new overall EU transport technology roadmap, where the requirement and the role of EVs in the future transport system is assessed in conjunction with other transport measures and alternative technologies and fuels. In this respect, the current white paper on transport from 2011 is not deemed to provide sufficient guidance. Inspiration for a more detailed roadmap along with technology targets could for example be found in the United States EV Everywhere Challenge
Seen from a Danish viewpoint, the establishment of EU-wide industry mandates for electric drive vehicles would increase the number of EVs on the market, as well as encourage additional R&D in vehicle and battery technology. The scheme should yield lower vehicle costs, both in the short term, as manufacturers would need to reduce prices of EVs to gain a market share, but also in the longer term through learning effects. Similarly, the system should also encourage increased all-electric driving ranges, thereby addressing the two most important customer concerns regarding EVs. This would be of utmost importance for Denmark’s prospects of complying with the long-term target of a fossil free transport sector.