Alternative Fuel Infrastructure: EP wants binding objectives
The European Commission would like to see the EU equipped with eight million recharging stations for electric vehicles by 2020. Carlo Fidanza (EPP, Italy), rapporteur on the issue, does not challenge this objective. “At this stage,” he told the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport (TRAN), on 16 September, he does not plan to take any action to change the figures or deadlines. He is well aware of the strong opposition in the Council of Ministers to this objective, but the MEP says he is convinced that the two institutions will reach an understanding in the coming negotiations. According to Fidanza, though, transforming these objectives into indicative targets would render the Commission’s proposal meaningless.
The aim of the proposal being considered is to deploy infrastructure in the EU for alternative fuels in order to lessen the dependence on oil for transport. The European Commission wishes to require all member states to install a minimum number of recharging stations on their territory (1.5 million in Germany, nearly a million in France, 1.2 million in Italy, etc). Similar requirements are proposed for other types of fuel: LNG (liquefied natural gas, used by utility vehicles), compressed natural gas (CNG, used mainly by cars) and for hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Going further than the Commission, Fidanza’s report also introduces new requirements for refuelling points for vehicles running on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). There should be a “sufficient number” in the EU by the end of 2020, at distances of no more than 150 km. Not all his fellow MEPs tend to support this ambition. Gesine Meissner (ALDE, Germany) and Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands) raised the objection that this fuel is primarily an oil derivative. “It is not an alternative fuel,” commented Meissner – a view shared by the Commission. The deadline for tabling amendments to the Fidanza report is 1 October. The vote in the TRAN committee is scheduled on 14 November.