Alternative fuel infrastructure tops agenda

The member states’ transport ministers, meeting in Council on 7 December, will try to agree on the deployment of infrastructure for alternative fuels in the EU. The Council is expected to adopt a general approach on a proposal presented by the European Commission nearly a year ago that would require member states to put in place, by 2020, a minimum number of recharging points for electric vehicles and refuelling stations for other types of alternative fuels (hydrogen, liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas).

The Commission might not recognise its proposal, though, since the compromise on the table puts flexibility in the fore, removing the binding objectives altogether. Under the compromise, the states would remain free to set their own infrastructure targets. They would draw up national action plans and the Commission would establish indicative targets on that basis. The minimum infrastructure would have to be in place by 2030 (the Commission proposes 2020).

The Council is therefore seriously cutting into the initial proposals. It will have to find common ground with the European Parliament, whose Committee on Transport (TRAN) adopted a report recently (see Europolitics 4760). The committee kept the principle of binding targets but lowered the Commission’s ambitions. Electric vehicles will also be discussed by ministers at lunch. Ivan Hodac, former secretary-general of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) and now its special adviser, will brief them on the industrial challenge of electric vehicles and their importance for the sector’s competitiveness.

Source: Europolitics


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