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Europe runs the risk that by 2030 a quarter of the jobs in automotive manufacturing could be lost if electric vehicles are imported rather than manufactured here. But a new study also shows 200,000 jobs could be created across the EU economy through a shift to low and zero emission vehicles built here; and this is supported by a range of other published work including the European Commission’s impact assessment on the new car CO2 regulation. The market for batteries alone is estimated to be worth 250 million euros.
If Europe is to reap the economic, employment and climate benefits of the transition to e-mobility, it needs to adopt a progressive policy that actively encourages investment in manufacturing of plug-in vehicles here in Europe, just as China and California have done through their mandates. The most effective way to achieve this is to develop a sizeable market for plug-in vehicles here in Europe. This is more likely to be met through local production of vehicles, as opposed to a niche market that can be more cheaply met by importing vehicles.
EU environment ministers gather in Luxembourg on 25 June to discuss the new EU CO2 rules for cars and vans, the key regulation that will define the pace of the e-mobility transition in Europe post 2020. A progressive 2025 target of 20% CO2 reduction, together with a sales target for low and zero emission vehicles will help drive the market in Europe that is currently stagnating through a lack of supply. Member states can also support the growth in plug-in vehicle manufacturing locally in Europe through investment in recharging and reform of vehicle taxes. Strong policies can help Europe to retain its global leadership in the automotive industry. With weak targets it is likely the EU position and its key sector will be usurped by China.