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UK will aim for 1.5 million EVs by 2020

The UK has a target for around 1.5 million electric cars on the roads in the country by 2020-according to the EU.

That’s interesting because in a Government response to a Transport Select Committee report, released earlier this week, we we’re told that the UK would not set Are we plugging in to electric cars? targets for plug-in vehicles because it would not be ‘helpful’ (see story).

However, as the European Commission (EC) launches its new Clean Fuel Strategy today-designed to help build infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles across Europe-it revealed details of targets for charging stations and electric vehicle numbers for member states.

That includes the UK.

We’re currently hoping to hear back from the DfT to find out where that 1.5 million figure comes from.

                           Building common infrastructure

In the meantime, the new strategy makes for fascinating reading. The EC has identified three key barriers to the uptake of cleaner fuels; the high cost of vehicles, a a low level of consumer acceptance, and the lack of recharging and refuelling stations. This the EC says is a vicious circle. Refuelling stations are not being built because there are not enough vehicles. Vehicles are not sold at competitive prices because there is not enough demand.

An electric car charging point by ElektromotiveTo address this problem, the Commission proposes setting binding targets for member states for a minimum level of clean fuel infrastructure; including fuelling stations for electricity, hydrogen and natural gas vehicles, as well as common EU wide standards for the refuelling equipment.

EC Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said. "Developing innovative and alternative fuels is an obvious way to make Europe's economy more resource efficient, to reduce our over-dependence on oil and develop a transport industry which is ready to respond to the demands of the 21st century. Between them, China and the US plan to have more than 6 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. This is major opportunity for Europe to establish a strong position in a fast growing global market."   

                                  Plugging in to alternatives

Measures to tackle a so-far inconsistent and fragmented approach to building infrastructure include using a common plug for electric vehicles to enable owners to roam and charge their cars more easily.  The Commission intends to make the "Type 2" plug as the common standard for the whole of Europe.

A portable hydrogen refuelling station from ITM Power-will we see more of these across Europe

Fuel hoses for hydrogen fuel stations would too, be given a common standard, to encourage the uptake of fuel cell cars, while LNG and CNG infrastructure would be established to support shipping and commercial vehicles. Currently only Sweden has small scale LNG bunkering facility for sea going vessels. The Commission is proposing that LNG refuelling stations be installed in all 139 maritime and inland ports on the Trans European Core Network by 2020 and respectively 2025, and that refuelling stations for trucks be installed every 400km on roads within the network.

For CNG-fuelled cars, it is proposed that common standards are set to enable a refuelling network to spread across Europe with a maximum distances of 150 Km between stations by 2020.

In detailing targets for electric vehicles and electric car refuelling infrastructure, it is revealed that only Spain and France are expected to have more electric vehicles on the road than the UK, with a target for 2.5 million and 2 million respectively. Germany follows a short way behind with 1 million.

In infrastructure terms, it is proposed that the UK will have 122,000 publicly available charging stations by 2020, up from 703 in 2011. It is proposed that Germany will have 150,000 charging station, Italy will have 125,000 (with a target for 130,000 EVs on the road by 2015) France will have 97,000 and Spain will have 82,000.

Data from the UK’s Plug-in Car Grant scheme suggests there are just over 3,000 modern plug-in cars on the UK’s roads (excludes quadricycles)-a long way from the target of 1.5 million. 

Full details are available on the press release.

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Faye Sunderland

Filed under: Electric cars

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