Time to give the transport sector the predictability it needs to thrive in a zero emission economy

(EurActiv, 5 Sep 2019) Despite its clear potential for clean transportation, electro-mobility still does not seem to be the motor driving Europe’s economic, climate, and industrial policy, writes Folker Franz.

Folker Franz is Senior Vice-President at ABB Europe and currently chairs the Platform for Electro-Mobility, an industry-NGO coalition. 

As we plan the future of mobility, considering how European citizens and goods will move around in coming decades, Europe is at a crossroads. We can stay on our current path, powering our cars, planes, trains, and ships with fossil fuels, wasting capital while increasing greenhouse gas emissions and polluting the local air. Or, we can turn off this route and chart a new course, accelerating our transportation systems towards electro-mobility, creating new jobs in growing markets, while cleaning the air and cutting carbon emissions.

The route we choose now will determine whether Europe will succeed in honoring its commitments under the Paris Agreement, goals that will be virtually unattainable if we continue to rely on petroleum fuels to move ourselves and our goods around.

When ministers convene on September 20 for the Transport Council meeting, the European Union’s strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy is on the agenda. As EU Heads of States and Governments will likely endorse this vision next month, nothing short of a full-throated commitment from the Transport Council to zero emission mobility by 2050 will suffice.

Fortunately, the policymakers can rest assured that the technology is ready to deliver on these goals. The electrification of personal vehicles has made great leaps in recent years. There are already 100 electric car models available in Europe, and those offerings will more than double in just two years, and could reach as many as 333 by the middle of next decade. Plummeting battery costs and healthy government incentives are helping rates of EV adoption outpace even the most ambitious projections, and car companies are waking up to the reality that consumers want to swap out the tailpipe for a zero emission vehicle that is clean and also getting cheaper. A report published earlier this year found that, in Europe, an electric car is already cheaper to own and operate than a comparable gasoline- or diesel-powered car.

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EurActiv, 5 Sep 2019: Time to give the transport sector the predictability it needs to thrive in a zero emission economy