Going-Electric presentation at CARS 21 Public Hearing
The European CARS 21 High-Level group organised on Friday 13 May 2011 a public hearing bringing together a wide group of stakeholders into presenting recommendations for the CARS 21 Final Reports.
Jacques de Selliers, Managing Director of Going-Electric, Association for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Europe, gave a presentation during which he highlighted four key points for a competitive EU automotive industry and sustainable mobility, and submitted a Position Paper, which is summarised hereafter.
The 4 key points are the following:
1. EVs are the future for sustainable mobility. Europe must unambiguously favour EV technology for its automotive industry to remain competitive.
With new concerns ruling the world, such as climate change, energy safety and environment protection, sustainable mobility is a major topic around policymakers. EV technologies – pure electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell – are the most sustainable technologies available for cars today. They are unbeatable at reducing C02 emissions, urban pollution and noise, primary energy consumption and oil dependence.
Moreover, while Internal Combustion Vehicles still have a limited improvement potential, it is at a high cost, and the combined improvement potential of EVs and of electricity generation is higher.
Therefore, EVs are clearly the best technologies for a sustainable mobility. Resources being limited, Europe has to concentrate all its efforts in the best technologies to remain competitive in the future. Technological neutrality is suicidal.
2. Non-financial incentives to EV buyers are the most effective and inexpensive instrument to stimulate the initial EV spread.
As EVs bring advantages to society and not to their owners, public incentives are needed at introduction stage for EVs to reach mass market. However, price is not the main issue: consumers are already buying cars much more expensive than they really need. They will only buy EVs if they get unique benefits over ICVs.
The main criterion for choosing a conveyance is saving transport time. Therefore, governments should privilege non-financial incentives that save time to EV drivers: for instance, priority lanes usage, free unlimited public parking, parking spots reserved to EVs, and toll and congestion charge exemption. This has already proven to be effective in countries such as Norway or Denmark – and it costs little to governments!
EVs will only spread fast if EV drivers can benefit of incentives that save them time over ICVs.
3. In terms of charging infrastructure, the first priority is low-power charging poles in residential districts.
No-one will buy an EV if he cannot charge it. As more than 50% of EU families do not own a garage, public charging infrastructure will be needed as primary source of charging for many of them.
The most convenient and inexpensive way to do so is to charge on low-power charging stations installed near home: 100 kerbside low-power charging poles (with cut-off during peak electricity) cost no more than one fast charging station that can only charge about 20 EVs per day. Moreover, fast charging stations are not convenient: you need to drive your EV there; it takes time to charge and greatly reduce the life of the battery. Furthermore, night charging uses off-peak electricity, which is good for the grid.
First priority is to install inexpensive low-power charging poles on the kerbside in residential districts.
4. Light Electric Microcars are ideal for a sustainable urban mobility. But a specific type approval category is needed to enable them.
Cars main usage is for commuting and urban traffic: 80% of car mileage is for less that 60 km per day, with 1 occupant, mainly in slow traffic. Light Electric Microcars are objectively ideal for this usage. They use less energy, are cleaner and, because of their small size, would significantly reduce traffic and parking congestion.
However, current type approval categories exclude Microcars that are both safe and light:
- L7e (quadricycles) are subjected to mass restriction prohibiting heavy safety equipment, and to power restriction making them too slow to occasionally drive on fast roads.
- M1 (cars) must be big and heavy in order to comply with their safety regulations that are designed for fast road usage; and their type approval procedures are too expensive for SMEs.
To enable truly sustainable commuting and urban mobility, a new type approval category should be created, in-between L7e and M1, for light Electric Microcars designed this usage.