Energy Commissioner Rides Electric Car to Council

December 8, 2008 | 00:00

Energy Commissioner Rides Electric Car to Council

EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs tested out today in Brussels a fully-electric vehicle. On his way to join EU Energy Ministers at their Council session, where vital energy-climate policy proposals were on the agenda, Mr Piebalgs tried out the electric car being showcased by EURELECTRIC this month as part of the Electricity Drives Cleaner campaign, to show his support for electric transport.

The EURELECTRIC campaign, intended to raise awareness of the benefits of electric transport among EU policymakers at this crucial moment in their deliberations on the EU Energy-Climate package of legislation, is being run with the support of automobile manufacturer Th!nk.  The Th!nk City model being showcased at various events around Brussels by EURELECTRIC officers and staff is a commercially available electric vehicle. 

The Electricity Drives Cleaner campaign was kick-started by EURELECTRIC President Lars Josefsson on the sidelines of a recent EURELECTRIC Board meeting in Brussels. Mr Josefsson, who is CEO and President of Sweden-based electricity company Vattenfall, explained that “EURELECTRIC supports electric vehicles because they are an essential part of the solution to the twin European challenges of reducing carbon emissions and improving energy security". Referring to the Strategic Energy Review unveiled recently by the European Commission, which indicates that 23% of total EU carbon dioxide emissions arise from road transport, Mr Josefsson stressed that “reducing vehicle energy intensity and emissions is a major challenge.”

The EURELECTRIC President added that: “the ambitious EU targets for reducing CO2 emissions from cars in the medium term should be maintained by European policy makers as the burden of decarbonisation should be shared between all industry actors. Long-term policy targets are needed in order to attract investment in new technology such as low-carbon vehicle technology.”

A brochure (which you can find here) produced by EURELECTRIC shows how electric cars can help in reaching European energy policy goals. The plant-to-wheel CO2 emissions of an electric car are about half (80 g/km) those of the average passenger car (160 g/km), making the EU “20-20-20” policy targets easier to achieve. The fact that the electricity industry is subject to emissions trading under the EU system means that electric vehicles would be the only form of road transport integrated into a carbon cap-and-trade system.

Substantial progress in battery technology research and potential ease of integration into the electricity grid are also making the advent of a mass market for electric vehicles ever more likely in the near future. Optimising the charging of electric cars will in addition provide synergies with greater use of intermittently-available electricity from renewable energy sources.

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