The six barriers and solutions to electro-mobility uptake in Europe

An alliance of European companies and organisations has identified key actions to address the barriers to move to electro-mobility in Europe.

No one individual, organisation, industry or stakeholder group is going to accelerate the uptake of electro-mobility in Europe. It’s a mammoth task that requires the collaboration of support, systems and initiatives from everyone. 

It is for this reason why the Platform for Electro-Mobility was recently established. This Platform is an alliance of organisations from across industries and transport modes representing producers, infrastructure managers, operators and users of transport means as well as cities and civil society. The Platform is Chaired by Senan McGrath from ecars.

The six barriers outlined in the alliance’s Position Paper include;

A comprehensive EU Strategy for clean and efficient electro-mobility on road and rail

An EU-strategy for electro-mobility should aim to increase the share of electric journeys and freight kilometres travelled using vehicles and trains. It should provide an EU-wide framework for electro-mobility throughout Member States by ensuring;

  • An adequate, interoperable charging network to enable electric vehicle use EU-wide.
  • An increasing choice of vehicles for drivers and public transport operators by incentivising the supply of electric vehicles.
  • The EU automotive and rail industries capture value from the transition to electro-mobility.
  • Electro-mobility is integrated with smart, low carbon electricity generation and distribution.
  • Electrical rail services and public transport continue to expand and increase in efficiency.
  • Research is directed to capturing value for EU businesses from the transition. 

To strongly embed electro-mobility within the Energy Union and all Member States' efforts to decarbonise transport

There are many ways intervention at an EU level can assist uptake by;

  • Extending the scope of the Clean Vehicles Directive to light and utility vehicles such as road maintenance, waste disposal and social services transport vehicles as well as setting more ambitious criteria on purchase. This needs to be done through a review of the criteria.
  • The European Market for light electric vehicles will benefit from a simplified and more adapted Light Vehicles Type Approval Regulation and harmonised safety rules. A regulatory fitness check is needed with the possibility leading to a separate technical regulatory framework for light electric vehicles. The Commission should investigate the need for further European harmonisation of safety rules, for instance in the field of helmet equipment.
  • The EU should ensure a single market for electric vehicles by encouraging Member States to quickly and fully implement the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive. 

Incentivising smart charging through the New Energy Market Design

  • The design of the New Energy Market needs to market parties to invest in and use smart charging, including innovative grid fees and/or ICT infrastructure financing models. These would allow DSOs to manage their grids more intelligently; and retails or service providers (including Energy Service Companies or aggregators) to offer innovative smart charging services to customers. Consumers need to receive clear financial benefits through efficient price signals (time-varying prices) or smart contract based control signs.
  • A clear regulatory framework for energy storage, including a definition of energy storage and services is lacking and should be developed as part of the New Energy Market design. This should be designed in such a way as to: accelerate the harmonisation of the internal market; remove double grid fees; allow small players to participate in energy and balancing trading markets; and, establish clear duties and rights of new players such as Energy Service Companies and independent aggregators.
  • New energy market design rules need to ensure cities and public transport operators can resell energy (recovered energy from public transport systems) at charging points to private customers to provide greater incentives to invest in recharging infrastructure to support multimodal journeys.
  • The European Commission must ensure Member States fully implement the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive and so in a way that does not create barriers for private investors and hinder competing charging solutions. They should also incorporate smart charging into the National roll-out plans.

Accelerate smart metering, interoperability and standardisation

  • European and national regulators should incentivise smart charging and smart metering (stationary or on-board) to ensure interoperability. A key advantage of electro-mobility is that a large portion of the infrastructure is already technically in place. Standardisation solutions for an internal market of electro-mobility and its services requires the establishment of smart metering and improving collaboration between grid operators, service providers and end-users. It also requires strengthening system reliability and providing new business opportunities, and developing an adapted framework for the valorisation of consumers’ flexibility. An interoperable electro-mobility service market in Europe requires a roaming system that can be established between charging point operators, but should also allow electricity roaming, i.e. allowing customers to choose a (renewable) energy supplier or independent service provider of their choice. Of course, charging operators should be allowed to invest in other solutions such as direct payment at the charging point.
  • For interoperability the Alternative Fuels infrastructure Directive lays down minimum standards for AC and DC charging above 22kW. As most manufacturers are now supplying vehicles with bigger batteries that was the case when the Directive was approved and are also working on fast chargers, the Commission should make a renewed and continuous effort to bring together the parties working on these systems to minimise the number of incompatible options that emerge.

Improved efficiency and further electrification of Europe's Rail Network 

  • The 2014 Public Procurement Directives should be transposed in national law so as to favour the use of tender award criteria based on environmental footprint and life-cycle-costs and include criteria for transport which should be used to encourage more energy efficient solutions such as permanent magnet motors, regenerative braking and reduction of weight through the use of lighter materials and composites.
  • To improve energy efficient and energy management systems, continued funding for R&D projects such as SHIFT2RAIL Joint Undertaking is needed.

Other Solutions

  • Complementing the existing European joint initiative with a dedicated initiative on e-buses. This would allow the gathering of private and public stakeholders under the same initiative to tackle the current challenges faced in this sector.
  • Member States should ensure there is a designated authority to ensure the provision of interconnected, intermodal electro-mobility solutions. This should include consideration of public transport hubs involving the sharing of electric vehicles, powered two-wheelers and bikes.
  • The use of e-bikes and powered two-wheelers in cities for short urban trips would benefit from a denser distribution, servicing networks as well as parking infrastructure. 

To view the full EU Transport White Paper by the Platform for electro-mobility, click here.