Are there chances of an increased use of E-mobility on the horizon?

Electric vehicles are proliferating globally at a rapid pace due to decarbonisation policies and the push in improving electric vehicle costs for customers. The European Commission are driving e-mobility incentives and policies as a sue of renewable and carbon-free energy sources in the transport sector could help the EU achieve their targets of CO2 emissions reduction.

There are many benefits of implementing e-mobility schemes in the EU, however there are also a number of factors to be overcome. Government Europa looks at e-mobility and the use of electric vehicles in Europe.

The positive externalities of e-mobility

Adopting and implementing more e-mobility throughout Europe in the long-term has benefits to a number of third-parties; motorists, authorities, manufacturers and most importantly, the environment itself.

The key attraction to moving from diesel and petrol transport vehicles to electric vehicles is the no fuel, no emissions ideology. Using electric to power vehicles does not release CO2 into the atmosphere, thus making the vehicles ‘clean’ as such. The number of cars and vehicles on the roads are increasing, according to the 2017 edition of ACEA’s ‘vehicles in use’ report, the EU passenger car fleet grew by 4.5% over the last five years, with the number of vehicles on the roads jumping from 241-252 million. Phasing out diesel and petrol cars and circulating electric vehicles will benefit the environment positively as currently a fifth of Europe’s CO2 emissions are from the transport sector.

Electric vehicles are cheaper to run than the conventional petrol/diesel vehicles and will also lead to lower maintenance costs as the engines are a lot simpler and they wear down the brake pads less than a conventional car; the engines are designed to aid in stopping and braking the car. This information is relevant only to pure electric cars as most hybrid cars are usually more expensive, due to having to pay for diesel or petrol and electric.

Companies in the automotive industry like Renault have introduced concept designs, giving a glimpse at the autonomous delivery vans of the future. Such designs are embracing the new wave of e-mobility and promoting the notion of creating environmentally friendly vehicles. The concept design unveiled at the Hanover motor show is an all-electric vehicle designed with customisable pods that can serve as an office space, coffee truck or delivery van.

Renault designed the electric vehicle as a fully customisable, automated lightweight van to overcome the last mile delivery problem faced by online retailers. The carriage-like design could also serve as a versatile vehicle for customers as well.

The essential aim of the vehicles is to cut inefficiencies and costs of the final stage of delivery, in which packages are taken from a central hub to the door of a customer, all of which is to be executed in a smart and environmentally friendly way.

The factors that are driving individuals away from e-mobility options

Despite being cheaper and better for the environment than diesel or petrol cars, electric vehicles are not taking off as quickly as the European Commission would like. Until recently there were infrastructural issues preventing the implementation of electric vehicles onto Europe’s roads and these issues come from a lack of electric vehicle charging points.

Having a lack of charging points for electric vehicles has been a major infrastructural issue as most electric vehicles have a range of around 100-150 miles, with the exceptions of new developments claiming to run over 200 miles on a full charge. Without the infrastructure to charge the vehicles on the roads and highways, it has meant that electric vehicles were only feasible for short commutes.

With this in mind, the Commission have however worked with many businesses and invested a lot of money in the infrastructure to enable the implementation of more e-mobility throughout the whole of Europe.

In a speech at the e-mobility summer day of the Polish Electricity Association in Brussels, Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission vice-president for the Energy Union said: “I am very glad that since we presented the Clean Energy package, more and more European car manufacturers have made not just statements but have taken concrete steps about transitioning their business models to electric cars. More and more European governments have set themselves ambitious targets on the share of clean cars on their roads or cities announcing a future restriction on combustion engines altogether.”

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