EU alternative fuel infrastructure plans greeted by ACEA
The plans, which form part of the EU’s “clean fuel strategy” are intended to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use.
The main measures proposed are:
- Electricity: A minimum number of recharging points, using a common plug will be required for each Member State.
- Hydrogen: Existing filling stations will be linked up to form a network with common standards ensuring the mobility of Hydrogen vehicles. This applies to the 14 Member States which currently have a Hydrogen network.
- Biofuels: No specific infrastructure required but a key challenge will be to ensure their sustainability.
- Natural Gas (Liquefied (LNG) and Compressed (CNG):
- The Commission is proposing that by 2020, LNG refuelling stations are installed every 400km along the roads of the Trans European Core Network.
- CNG: The Commission proposal will ensure that publically accessible CNG refuelling points, with common standards, are available Europe-wide with maximum distances of 150Km by 2020.
- LPG: No action is foreseen for LPG, the core infrastructure is already established.
EC Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said: ‘Developing innovative and alternative fuels is an obvious way to make Europe's economy more resource efficient, to reduce our overdependence on oil and develop a transport industry which is ready to respond to the demands of the 21st century. Between them, China and the US plan to have more than 6 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020. This is major opportunity for Europe to establish a strong position in a fast growing global market.’
In response, the ACEA has said it welcomes the Commission's clear acknowledgement that there is no one single solution to the challenges of sustainable transport, but that there must be a whole basket of options available.
It also said that standardising the connection between the electricity grid and electrically-chargeable vehicles is one of the prerequisites to help e-mobility gain a viable market share and that it therefore welcomes the Commission's proposal to unify the plug system for recharging electric vehicles in Europe.
‘The existence of a single common plug across the different member states will help kick start a stronger market uptake of electric vehicles, and gives clear direction for the future,’ stated Ivan Hodac, ACEA secretary general. ‘This represents a real break-thorough in current discussions on the harmonisation of charging.’
Gas powered vehicles (both LNG and CNG) also have a strong role to play in bringing down CO2 emissions. The industry is pleased to note that, as well as proposing a broader network of filling stations, the Commission has underlined the necessity of ensuring the appropriate quality of gas for use in future vehicle
The association concluded: ‘With the right framework conditions, alternative fuels have the potential to play a key role in improving air quality and reducing CO2 emissions. The auto industry has put forward a number of solutions through its investments in cleaner technologies. It will only be possible for these solutions to bear their fruit if there is full cooperation between utility providers, infrastructure companies, the energy sector, standardisation bodies and the automotive industry – with the full support of national governments and the European institutions. This proposal takes a step in the right direction in fostering such synergies.’