Report shows dramatic rise in European investment in EVs & batteries in 2019
European investments in electric vehicles and batteries were worth €60 billion in 2019 - 19 times more than in 2018 - according to new analysis by T&E, the Brussels-based NGO. Driven by EU car CO2 targets, industry and government investments in EV production grew more than three times faster than in China. The report makes a series of recommendations for how the EU should ensure that this momentum is not lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
T&E says that EU and national post-Covid aid to the stricken car industry should build on this investment and support a green recovery by prioritising EV production as well as purchase incentives to boost zero-emission car sales, especially in corporate, taxi and car-sharing fleets.
With 2020 touted as 'the year of the electric car' in Europe and early 2020 showing record plug-in sales, the report asks: has the Covid-19 crisis killed off the electric car momentum that was finally gaining pace in response to EU emissions regulations?
The authors cite a report from the European Public Health Alliance which warned that those living in polluted cities are more at risk from COVID-19 , since air pollution can cause respiratory diseases. This corroborates the findings of another study which found that patients in regions with moderate air pollution levels were 84% more likely to die than those in regions with low air pollution.
Therefore, it says, the shift to electric vehicles, including all-electric urban delivery vehicles, zero emissions, public transport systems with electric buses, taxis, car sharing and ride hailing services that use fully electric vehicles, must be a priority.
The report says that investments in EV charging infrastructure should be used to boost demand and economic recovery, tax reforms for businesses should be implemented to accelerate the shift to zero emissions fleets, and any funds for the automotive sector must come with strings attached: they must contribute to the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal.
Public money should not only be used as a short term relief but as a tool to shape the transport system of the future to come out stronger and greener from the looming recession.
Specifically, amongst other recommendations, the report says that:
The EU's 2020-2021 Cars & CO2 target of 95g/km should not be reopened or weakened.
There should be a clear trajectory for the industry to accelerate the transition to zero emission cars so that only zero emission models are allowed to be sold across Europe from 2035 at the latest. It should be accompanied by an EU plan for jobs to prepare the workforce.
There should be improvements in the design of the current Cars & CO2 regulations.
Scrappage schemes to incentivise car purchases (very likely to be introduced as we emerge from the crisis, the report says) must prioritise zero emission vehicles and supporting infrastructure.
Support should be provided to individuals and companies to install charging infrastructure.
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