Zero carbon transport shift could save billions – report

zero carbon transport
© iStock/ Sami Sert

A new report has found a widespread shift from fossil fuels to zero carbon transport could save Member States ‘billions of euros’.

The ‘Batteries on Wheels’ report, commissioned by Transport & Environment (T&E), found that full electrification of road transport across France, Italy, Spain and the UK could save each country between €500m and €1.3bn. The full savings would be conditional on significant investment in infrastructure to support electric mobility, as well as the deployment of ‘smart charging’ – where the majority of electric vehicle (EV) charging is conducted at times when the energy grid is experiences lower demand – and improved EV battery recycling capabilities.

Figures released by the UK’s National Grid show that by 2030 there will be around 11 million electric vehicles on the UK’s roads; which national authorities must address by ensuring the requisite infrastructure is in place to fully support zero carbon transport. Smart charging would minimise the need to build additional power plants, as well as providing an outlet for excess renewable energy which cannot easily be reintegrated into the grid. The report warns, however, that the EU does not yet have the mechanisms in place to easily recycle the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles; and urges the implementation of more ambitious EU targets on EV battery recycling.

T&E’s clean vehicles and e-mobility manager, Julia Poliscanova, said: “EVs will not crash our power grids, as some people misleadingly report. On the contrary, Batteries on Wheels shows that EVs can spare Europe’s grids from costly upgrades and allow more renewables to come online faster. But for this to happen, Europe’s governments have to set up systems for EVs to be charged at the right time of the day, for example during daytime in sunny countries. Recycling is not only a key pillar of sustainable production, it also has huge potential to keep critical metals such as cobalt and lithium in Europe, creating new green and ethical industries and jobs along the way.”

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