After many false dawns the electric car is finally on a trajectory to replace the internal combustion engine.
With Paris going to host the 2024 Olympic games, it’s ramping up plans for a shared and autonomous vehicle future. Sometimes seen as a 19th century pre-car capital, the city of light could become the world’s first post-car metropolis. By 2020 all diesel cars will be banned and, by the time the games roll into town, driverless taxis should be making ride after ride – freeing up precious parking space.
The average car sits unused for more than 90% of the time, carries on average just one and a half people and costs on average €6,500 a year to own and run. Each car occupies 150m2 of urban land and still this is not enough – congestion costs the EU economy €100 billion annually. The convenience that made the car a 20th century icon has been eroded by its popularity.
An agreement between EU governments and the European Parliament on the so-called ‘market pillar’ of the fourth railway package means the plan to open up domestic passenger rail to competition from 2020 will be ratified in autumn 2016 and countries will then have three years to implement it.
The idea of an electric vehicle (EV) sales quota is gaining momentum. Recently the Netherlands' parliament voted to make 100 per cent of new car sales emissions-free by 2025. Dutch MPs also told the government to make this possible through EU policy - most likely in the form of an EV sales quota for carmakers as part of the next round of car CO2 standards.
CO2 standards for new vehicles have been proven to work and new targets should be introduced for 2025 and 2030, a report for the European Parliament’s transport committee has said. The limited quantities of available biofuels are also highlighted, while the shift to electric vehicles is ‘inevitable’.
Industry and civil society groups working on transport have criticised today's State of the Energy Union speech by Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič for failing to prioritise e-mobility as a major means of decarbonising transport. The majority of EU states lag significantly behind Norway – where one out of every five cars sold is electric, the platform of 12 organisations, which includes power sector representative Eurelectric, railway operators' body CER, and sustainable transport group Transport & Environment, said.