After many false dawns the electric car is finally on a trajectory to replace the internal combustion engine.
Europe is set to start cleaning up its public buses in the coming decade after EU lawmakers today agreed binding targets for the procurement of zero-emission vehicles by local authorities and public companies. More than 75% of buses are publicly procured, and negotiators agreed that at least a quarter of these will have to be clean buses in 2025, and at least a third in 2030, under the revised Clean Vehicles Directive.
MEPs have given a thumbs-up to spending €10 billion of the EU’s transport infrastructure budget on smart, sustainable and safe transport projects like re-charging stations and railway signaling upgrades. T&E said that guaranteeing this funding for the period 2021-2027 – as part of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – is crucial if Europe is to meet its climate targets.
The European Parliament has given a boost to the take-up of electric buses, with a vote that strengthens the bus chapter of the European Commission’s Clean Vehicles Directive. But with elections to the parliament due in May, it is now a race to get the directive approved before the legislative process would have to start again. T&E has since published a report showing that total cost of ownership of e-buses is now almost at parity with diesel buses when health external costs are included.
Fully electric buses only account for 9% of urban bus sales in Europe – despite being cost competitive with diesel buses when the costs of air pollution and noise are taken into account. That’s according to a new analysis of urban buses by T&E focusing on orders received by bus-makers and the total cost of ownership of different bus types.
Urban buses are the first transport mode where electrification is having a significant impact today. This trend is driven primarily by the rising awareness of toxic air pollution in our cities from internal combustion engines and supported by the compelling economic, comfort, and noise advantages. We expect urban buses to be the first transport mode to reach zero emission thanks to electrification.
The mayor of London and representatives of other British cities have called for a ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars to be introduced in 2030 – 10 years earlier than the earlier announcement by the UK government. Their call comes as a court in Germany has ruled that banning diesels from a historic city is a legitimate way to combat air pollution, and Milan has taken the first step towards banning diesels from the city by 2025.
Some 97% of Spain’s population is being exposed to harmful levels of air pollution, a report by T&E’s Spanish member Ecologistas en Acción shows. The economic recovery has brought an increase in the use of diesel for cars, airplane jet fuel, and coal to generate electricity. The main source of pollution in urban areas, where most of the population lives, is road traffic.
Six EU countries are being taken to court for failing to tackle repeated breaches of air quality limits. T&E said the legal action by the European Commission is a long-overdue and welcome step. Germany, France and the UK face penalties for years of allowing breaches of limits on toxic NO2 emissions while Italy, Romania and Hungary failed to tackle harmful and illegal levels of particulates (PM10). Spain, however, has got away with a warning.
New mobility services and business models are changing urban transport, affecting both the supply and demand sides of urban mobility market. Evidence shows that these developments can lead to a significant reduction of single occupancy private car use and an increase of public transport use, leading to a strong reduction in congestion, local air pollution, and CO2 emissions. Despite their long term potential, the growth and development of new mobility services are often hampered by existing market access restrictions, operational requirements and financial disincentives. This joint position paper outlines the key recommendations from 10 organisations engaged in promoting new mobility. They are: BMW Group, car2go, European Cyclists' Federation, Mobility Nation, nextbike, Siemens, Transport & Environment, Uber, and the City of Vilnius.