Member states are on course to water down plans to promote the use of electric cars

In theory, many people would be happy to drive an electric car. But the main hurdle in creating a mass market for these vehicles has been so-called ‘range anxiety’ – the fear that you will run out of power because there are not enough places to recharge the car. To address this fear, the European Commission came up with a proposal last year that would require member states to have a minimum number of charging-points in place by 2020.

But at a meeting today (5 December), transport ministers from the member states are likely to water down that plan. They are to vote on a compromise text drafted by Lithuania, which holds the presidency of the Council of Ministers, that removes the Commission’s targets, leaving just vague references to charging-points and a deadline of 2030.

Lithuania says that member states need more time to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the plan. Its draft text would allow member states to set their own targets for the number of charging-points. It also removes a 2015 deadline for all charging-points in the EU to meet the same standards.

MEPs also believe that the Commission’s targets are unrealistic, but only want to reduce them. The Commission wanted eight million charging-points across the the EU by 2020, with 800,000 of those available to the public.

But the European Parliament’s transport committee said the important figure was that for public charging-points and voted last week to reduce the requirement for public stations to 456,000 and omit the requirement for private stations.

“We have insisted on setting mandatory targets in determining the minimum number of publicly-accessible electric recharging-points per member state by 2020, but have adjusted the number demanded to a more realistic level,” said Ismail Ertug, a centre-left German MEP.

For environmental campaigners, what matters is that the targets are mandatory. “The European Parliament is sensibly focusing less on the quantity of charging points, and more on their accessibility – where they should be placed,” said Cecile Toubeau of green transport group T&E.

The Parliament’s position would require that the public charging-points be placed in urban areas and at “reasonable distances” along the TEN-T network of EU-funded cross-border roads. But only Estonia and the Netherlands have nationwide systems of charging-points for electric cars. If the member states scrap mandatory targets, campaigners fear that there will be little incentive to build the charging points.

Source: European Voice


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