The European Commission has ruled that a plan to fund electric buses in Germany, and support the development of related recharging infrastructure, is in line with EU state aid rules.
The plan will support the broader uptake of electric buses in Germany from 2018-2021. This will in turn will reduce CO2 emissions. The plan was judged not to be in breach of regulations aimed at limiting distortions of competition in the state.
The scheme has a budget of €70m and will cover additional costs incurred by public transport operators for the acquisition of electric and plug-in hybrid buses to replace conventional diesel buses, and the construction of related electric charging infrastructure required for the operation of the buses.
Why did the commission rule in favour of the project?
The commission’s judgement argued that a public scheme to increase the use of electric buses in Germany would incentivise bus operators to invest in these vehicles and their related infrastructure. This will contribute to the European strategy for low-emission mobility and support Europe’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.
The project will also ensure that CO2 emissions are reduced, and will support the transition towards renewables, as to qualify for funding, public transport operators must ensure that buses are operated with electricity from renewable sources.
What did the commission say?
In light of the project’s contributions to reducing environmental impact, the commission ruled that the contribution the scheme would make to EU environmental goals would outweigh the potential it creates for distortion of competition in Germany.
Further, member states have many options for alternative technologies to reduce exhaust emissions, and so the proposed project was found to be in line with EU state aid guidelines.
The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, welcomed the project: “This scheme is another positive example of how to fight global warming. In line with the EU environmental goals, it will give public transport operators an incentive to invest in low or zero emissions vehicles with the clear objective of reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality.”