After many false dawns the electric car is finally on a trajectory to replace the internal combustion engine.
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.
Europe is set to rapidly increase its fleet of zero-emissions buses after the European Parliament today supported targets for the public procurement of vehicles by local authorities and public companies. MEPs voted for national targets of between 43% and 75% of new buses to be ‘clean’ vehicles in 2030, and for 25% to 50% of cars and vans.
The European Commission has told Hungary that it may have to pay back money given from EU funds for the expansion of the Budapest metro network because a condition of the grant – the introduction of a congestion charge in the city – has not been met. T&E says the credibility of the rule of law is at stake over the issue.
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.
The European Commission has announced a commitment to spending at least 60% of the EU’s cross-border infrastructure fund on schemes that help the fight against climate change. T&E has largely welcomed the announcement, though it criticised the proposal to count EU funding for gas projects towards the climate spending goals.
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.