EU climate package: decision makers must look at the ‘big picture’
It is crunch time for the EU’s climate package, with the European Parliament and Council set to adopt their final positions on many key elements of ‘Fit for 55’ over the next days, weeks or months – be it for legislation on charging infrastructure, car and van CO2 targets or the emissions trading system.
Message from ACEA’s Director General – May 2022
At this crucial juncture, we are urging MEPs and EU ministers not to vote on these files as stand-alone pieces of legislation, but rather to adopt Fit for 55 as one coherent package. Indeed, all are pieces of a complex puzzle – if just one piece is missing, the whole puzzle will fall apart.
All ACEA members are of course strongly committed to bringing CO2 emissions down to zero, supporting Europe’s goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. We can really see the fruit of our industry’s investments in the market today, with our latest data showing that almost one in every five new cars sold in the EU has a plug.
However, the electric car market is still fragile, making it difficult now to predict its trajectory over the coming years. Indeed, future consumer demand for electric vehicles is highly reliant on support measures, particularly the widespread availability of charging infrastructure.
All ACEA members are of course strongly committed to bringing CO2 emissions down to zero, supporting Europe’s goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050.
So, as member states are set to adopt a position on the proposed Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) in the coming days, we are reiterating our plea for urgent action to scale up charging points and hydrogen stations right across the EU.
In order to contribute some facts and figures to the discussions on infrastructure, we joined forces with McKinsey and several associations from across the e-mobility landscape last year to develop a European Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Masterplan, which was launched at a cross-industry roundtable event in March. According to this research paper, a network of up to 6.8m public charging points would be required across the EU by 2030 to reach the 55% CO2 reduction for cars proposed by the European Commission. This figure is already almost twice that put forward in the AFIR proposal – and a far cry from the 300,000 charging points available today – so it is quite clear that this proposal should be reinforced rather than weakened. A watered down AFIR is simply not compatible with strengthened CO2 targets!
What is more, to address the asymmetrical distribution of chargers that we are currently facing, we need AFIR targets that are harmonised across different member states. Indeed, the latest data shows that almost 70% of all charging points are found in just four EU countries, with the remaining 30% scattered out across 23 countries. Introducing a series of flexibilities for different member states only risks making this situation worse.
To address the asymmetrical distribution of chargers that we are currently facing, we need AFIR targets that are harmonised across different member states.
Given that public charging stations specifically for trucks are practically inexistant today, quickly ramping up a network of chargers for this vehicle segment may seem like a mission impossible. Thanks to our work with Fraunhofer ISI, we managed to break this down to a more manageable task. Based on the premise that drivers will want to charge electric trucks at the locations where they already make their stops today, Fraunhofer mapped out exactly where these locations are, and which truck stops are most frequently used.
The analysis showed that 10% of the locations most frequented by trucks in Europe account for 50% of all the stops that trucks make. We have just published a series of zoomable maps that pinpoint exactly where these truck stops are found. We are quite sure that governments and industry stakeholders will find this tool invaluable for targeting their infrastructure investments where they are most needed.
One thing is certainly clear, by setting AFIR targets for trucks now – before the revision of CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles coming at the end of this year – policy makers are already determining the CO2 reductions that can be expected from road freight by the end of this decade.
Of course, not all charging occurs at public charging points. This is why ACEA also welcomes the review of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which complements AFIR by focusing on charging facilities at home and at work. Nonetheless, we are calling for clearer and more ambitious targets for charging points in residential and non-residential buildings – be they in existing buildings, those undergoing major renovations or brand new ones – in order to create the right conditions for an increased market update of electrified vehicles.
We are calling for clearer and more ambitious targets for charging points in residential and non-residential buildings in order to create the right conditions for an increased market update of electrified vehicles.
Another very topical challenge facing our sector is the ongoing supply chain interruptions. These problems – which started during the COVID pandemic and are being exacerbated by the current geopolitical environment – are impacting the availability and cost of components, with prices literally skyrocketing in recent months. Unfortunately, these disruptions are expected to persist for several years. All the more reason for EU decision makers to cautiously prepare and plan the move to electric mobility, especially when we consider that the raw materials needed in batteries are to a large extent sourced outside Europe.
When we speak of price, we come to the topic of carbon pricing and ETS for buildings and road transport. It is essential that Europe puts in place a strong system that sets the right price signals to phase out the use of fossil fuels in the road transport sector. At the same time, it is also important to balance the impact this will have on road users, and to make sure that they have access to appropriately priced low- and zero-emission alternatives.
A dense network of public infrastructure right across the EU, complemented by charging points at home and at work; a coherent carbon pricing system; a secure supply of raw materials… These are just some of the ‘enabling’ conditions that are vital for achieving strengthened CO2 targets for all vehicle types. Especially when voting on the CO2 targets for cars and vans in plenary next week, we urge MEPs to look at the big picture, and not just a single link in the whole chain.
Director General of ACEA
When voting on the CO2 targets for cars and vans in plenary next week, we urge MEPs to look at the big picture, and not just a single link in the whole chain.