Transport is now the EU’s largest source of CO2 emission. The primary issue is road transport that causes almost ¾ of total transport emissions. Tackling this issue will require a transformation from the internal combustion engine to electric powertrain along with the progressive decarbonisation of electricity production.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are at the heart of developing synergies between the transport and energy sectors. EV integration into the electricity grid offers a particularly compelling solution for energy storage and grid services, enabled by so-called vehicle-to-grid mechanisms and smart charging. EVs therefore have a role to play both in the energy and transport transitions, and provide a market-ready solution to put the EU on track to meet the targets of the Paris 2015 agreement. While the automotive industry is starting to invest more seriously in electric powertrains, consumer uptake in the EU is also progressing quickly now.
As a nascent market, electric vehicles need the right policy framework to thrive. Looking at EV policy developments in California and in China, the introduction of a scheme equivalent to a zero emission vehicle mandate for car manufacturers is an efficient mechanism to steer the market. This will also provide the required certainties to develop a comprehensive electric vehicle ecosystem, particularly in term of infrastructure requirements.
The shift to electric vehicles will also bring about additional employment and environmental benefits for the EU. As far as competitiveness and jobs are concerned, the early start of an EV production in Europe will be key to maintain its worldwide leading status in car manufacturing. In parallel, European cities will become cleaner with incremental EV uptake mainly due to the reduction in noise and less pollutant emissions.
Read also our digital magazine on electric vehicles.