“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is a success."
- Edward Everett Hale
Between May 23 and 26, 2019, European citizens will once again have the chance to jointly decide on their representatives in the European Parliament, the democratic institution that defends their interests in the EU decision-making process. The upcoming European Parliament elections provide another chance for Europeans to be involved and have a voice on topics such as jobs, business, security, migration, and climate change.
In recent years, there has been an increase in Euroscepticism, the feeling of displeasure towards some or all European Institutions. According to the Eurobarometer, since 2007, popularity and trust in the EU have decreased significantly, currently hovering at less than 50%.
Figure 1 - Percentage of voters per country in European Parliament elections in 2014
Another study conducted by the Eurobarometer concluded that 96% of the 27,643 respondents agree that the EU has a responsibility to protect the natural world. This begins with tackling climate change. In recent years, the EU has increased support for renewable energies and set high targets to help reduce our carbon footprint.
The EU has set ambitious climate change objectives to be reached by 2020
Greenhouse gas emissions should be at least 20% lower than in 1990.
20% of energy should come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal power.
Energy efficiency should be increased by at least 20%.
This past December, the EU agreed to cut carbon emissionsfrom polluting vehicles by 37.5% in the coming decade. Electric cars (EVs) are a major part of this emission-reduction plan. EVs produce fewer emissions that contribute to climate change and smog than petrol vehicles.
Figure 2 - Emission reduction targets for 2030 for EU member states
When choosing between a petrol or electric vehicle, the most environmentally friendly option is undoubtedly the EV. EVs are more efficient and waste less energy when driven in cities. More EVs on the road and in cities will also improve air quality due to less fuel exhaust.
How can the European Union help the EV sector?
Europe is already a world leader when it comes to electric cars and EV charging stations. With the development of long-range EVs, people are more willing to switch than ever.
However, one question that many consumers have is, “What if I need to charge my car when I'm not at home or work?” This is where European countries have come together to help solve a common problem—the lack of a pan-European EV charging network. When it comes to accelerating the transition to eMobility, the European Union is able to have a huge impact.
Figure 3 - Number of electric vehicle sales
Because electric driving is a relatively new and relatively unregulated issue, the EU can help by implementing common rules and standards for EVs and charging infrastructure. Roaming service for charging stations—the ability to charge an EV on any provider’s network with one cumulative bill per month—is not yet available in many countries.
For the past decade, the European Union has invested billions of Euros to install charging infrastructure across the continent. While EVs are currently still far outnumbered by petrol vehicles, with the increase of new and more affordable models, it’s expected that the number of EVs will skyrocket in the coming years. It’s imperative that charging infrastructure grows to accommodate those numbers.
Figure 4 - Number of electric cars and public chargers
Though individual European countries and cities have implemented measures to promote eMobility, large-scale adoption of electric mobility cannot be managed by the disjointed efforts of individual cities alone.
The European Union has been co-funding projects to incentivize and help organizations install charging points all over Europe. Emmanuel Oury, Head of High-Power Charging at EVBox Bordeaux, has been able to take part in EU co-funded projects:
“Bringing people together and free mobility were, from day one, two key points that could easily be facilitated with the fast rollout of large HPC stations all along European highways. We are proud to help push the dream of lower air pollution and a smaller carbon footprint forward.”
EU co-funded projects
Fast-charging infrastructure projects co-funded by the EU
The MEGA-E project for EV charging infrastructure received 29 million euros. It aims to deploy 322 fast charging stations (up to 350 kW) in 20 countries and should contribute to expanding the coverage of Ultra-Charging stations across the EU.
The EUROPE-E project aims to roll out a pan-EU network of 340 Ultra-Charging stations (up to 350 kW) in 13 EU member states at an average of 120 km between each station. This project is driven by IONITY, a joint venture by BMW, Daimler, Ford, and Volkswagen Group to share the risk and accelerate deployments.
The E-VIA Flex-E project will deploy 14 Ultra-Charging stations (150 - 350 kW) in Spain, France, and Italy. The overall budget co-ﬁnanced by the European Commission is about 6.69 million euros.
The ULTRA-E project is laying the groundwork for pan-European expansion of an ultra-fast charging network for long-distance electric cars. 25 ultra-fast charging sites that power up to 350 kW will be installed at an average distance of 150-200 km in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Austria. The EU co-financed 6.5 million euros of this project.
The European Union facilitates cooperation between European nations with funding, dialogue, and support. We need to take action now on climate change. Don’t forget to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections from 23 to 26 May!