Electricity to play a key role in decarbonising European transport

News Article

EURELECTRIC welcomes the commitment shown by the European Commission today to pursue action towards the modernisation of Europe’s transport sector with a strong focus on the decarbonisation of this key sector of the economy. The European power sector views the increasing electrification as essential to tackle the climate change challenge.

“Our commitment to deliver carbon neutral electricity by 2050 means that electricity is set to become the key energy carrier for a decarbonised European economy, and will provide massive added value to the decarbonisation efforts of the transport sector,” said EURELECTRIC Secretary General, Kristian Ruby.

With 56% of Europe’s electricity generation already carbon free, average CO2 emissions from running an electric car are around 50g per kilometre in a well-to-wheel perspective, which is already well below the EU’s 2020 target of 95g for passenger cars. This trend is set to continue as electricity generation will continue to decarbonise under the ETS cap.

One of the legislative proposals put forward by the Commission yesterday is the Eurovignette Directive, which contains rules on how Member States shall charge vehicles for the use of their roads in case they decide to implement road charging. Following the proposal, it will become obligatory to differentiate road charging according to the vehicles’ CO2 emissions, with a requirement to charge zero emission vehicles 75% less than the highest charge rate. Furthermore, as of 2022, Member States shall differentiate road tolls and time-based user charges for light vehicles by both CO2 emissions and air pollutant emissions.

If the Commission’s proposal prevails, we can expect adapted road charging systems, which better reflect the “polluter pays” principle to provide a further push for the electrification of road transport, as electric vehicles do not emit CO2 nor air pollutants at tailpipe.

“Further legislative initiatives must include strict CO2 emission standards for cars and vans, action to ensure that sufficient charging infrastructure is in place across Europe, as well as incentives and measures to tap into the vast potential of smart charging,” Kristian Ruby added.

In recent weeks, EURELECTRIC launched its A Bright Future for Europe report, which analyses the positive impacts of electrification beyond the power sector, in transport as well as heating and cooling. EURELECTRIC provides policy recommendations to maximise the benefits of electrification for European society and consumers.