A strong EV benchmark can cut transport emissions and help modernise Europe’s electricity grid

(EurActiv, 8 Nov 2018) Over a century ago, electric vehicles (EVs) were the best-selling cars on the market. Bringing them back on today’s roads will not only help to decarbonise transport, but the energy sector too, with wider benefits for society, argues Julia Hildermeier.

Julia Hildermeier is EU associate at the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), where she does Research and policy analysis on e-mobility and decarbonising the power sector.

Over a century ago, electric vehicles (EVs) were the best-selling cars on the market. In 1900, 28% of cars on the road in the US were electric. If the competing combustion engine technology had not taken over, today’s policymakers would likely face a much smaller challenge in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in the transport sector.

Cars alone account for 12% of the EU’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. And road transportation emissions, unlike any other sector in Europe, are still increasing.

What’s more, Europe’s clean energy transition is not progressing as quickly as it should, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in October served as a grave reminder of the urgency of reducing carbon across sectors.

Bringing EVs back on today’s roads will not only help to decarbonise transport, but the energy sector, too, with wider benefits for society.

By charging even an increasing number of EVs when the costs for producing and delivering electricity are low, EVs can help to smooth the load curve, contain the overall grid costs, and make better use of existing assets, thereby bring down the costs for all electricity consumers, not just EV drivers. One way to drive this change is through a strong sales benchmark.

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EurActiv, 8 Nov 2018: A strong EV benchmark can cut transport emissions and help modernise Europe’s electricity grid