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PV 25/10/2018 - 8
CRE 25/10/2018 - 8

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PV 25/10/2018 - 13.22

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Thursday, 25 October 2018 - Strasbourg Provisional edition
Deployment of infrastructure for alternative fuels in the European Union: time to act!

European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2018 on deployment of infrastructure for alternative fuels in the European Union: time to act! (2018/2023(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 November 2017 entitled ‘Towards the broadest use of alternative fuels - an Action Plan on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure under Article 10(6) of Directive 2014/94/EU, including the assessment of national policy frameworks under Article 10(2) of Directive 2014/94/EU’ (COM(2017)0652),

–  having regard to Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure(1) ,

–  having regard to Directive 2009/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles(2) ,

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement, Decision 1/CP.21 and the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC, and the 11th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11) held in Paris, France from 30 November to 11 December 2015,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Union’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 (recast) (COM(2017)0676),

–  having regard to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), along with the proposed amendments to make the Code mandatory under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), addressing the challenges posed by the adoption of alternative fuels at regulatory level in the shipping sector and aiming at minimising the risk to the ships, their crew and the environment, and having regard to the nature of the fuels involved,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 19 April 2018,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0297/2018),

A.  whereas mobility is a basic need and the backbone of our societies and economies, and should be clean, sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe in all respects; whereas, in this context, clean technologies offer huge opportunities and benefits for society, having a significant impact on health and on the environment, as well as on the automotive industry, energy suppliers, utilities, and grid operators;

B.  whereas Member States have adopted their national policy frameworks (NPF) that were assessed by the Commission in its recent communication COM(2017)0652, which noted that the objectives and the implementation of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles vary from one Member State to another, as only eight out of 25 Member States fully meet the NPF requirements set out in Directive 2014/94/EU(3) , and that two Member States failed to submit their NPF by 16 November 2016, as required under Article 3 of Directive 2014/94/EU;

C.  whereas the decarbonisation of transport will improve air quality and strengthen Europe’s energy security and independence vis-à-vis imported energy and fossil fuels, and will therefore require a swift and substantial change in the type of energy, fuels and powertrains used, as well as an increase in energy efficiency, by deploying the most efficient and advanced technologies, making the transition to multimodal transport and changing mobility behaviour;

D.  whereas transport is the only major economic sector in the European Union where greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased since 1990; whereas it is responsible for 23 % of CO2 emissions, and this share is still growing; whereas road transport accounts for almost 75 % of all energy used in transport and causes almost 73 % of the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions; whereas there is a constant increase in traffic linked to the growth in movements and volumes of goods transported in the EU and the increased mobility of people; whereas this increase, as projected for 2030, will have consequences for climate change, air quality and energy consumption, and will also have an impact on infrastructure; whereas decarbonisation of road transport through the use of sustainable alternative fuels will require a flexible approach, meaning that different alternative fuels could be needed for different vehicle segments;

E.  whereas shipping accounts for over 80 % of world trade by volume and 3 % of global greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to air pollution close to coastal areas and ports; whereas, taking into consideration its substantial contribution to the worldwide transport market, the gradual adoption of alternative fuels by shipping would have a significant positive effect on the environment;

F.  whereas, in order to keep the increase in the global temperature to well below 2°C while pursuing the 1,5°C target as signed up to in the Paris Agreement, road transport needs to be fully decarbonised with zero net emissions by 2050 at the latest; whereas a shift to alternative fuels can help achieve this goal, although conventional fuels will still be needed for the foreseeable future until such time as demand can be met in full by alternative fuels;

G.  whereas switching to sustainable alternative fuels and powertrains, taking into account the whole life-cycle of vehicles, is the best means to decarbonise the existing and future vehicle fleet; whereas the overall effect will be even greater when combined with increased vehicle efficiency, use of public transport and bikes, the development of shared mobility and improvements to the overall efficiency of transport systems through C-ITS systems and automation and digitalisation technology; whereas urban and spatial planning can support and complement the technological efforts and support the deployment of charging and refuelling infrastructure; whereas the promotion of alternative fuels can make an important contribution to the improvement of air quality in cities;

H.  whereas the price disadvantages of alternative-fuel vehicles compared to regular internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, together with the lack of deployment of refuelling and recharging infrastructure, are still among the main barriers to customers’ purchasing decisions; whereas, in this context, buyers’ premiums, tax exemptions and non-fiscal incentives have proven to accelerate market uptake and should reflect the GHG and pollutants emission performance of different alternative fuels;

I.  whereas shifting towards alternative fuels and powertrains represents an opportunity, and a research incentive, for a competitive European industry to reaffirm its technological leadership; whereas this transition is crucial for international competitiveness in terms of knowledge, technology and market share;

J.  whereas the recast of the Regulation on emission standards for new passenger cars and for new light commercial vehicles will hopefully set ambitious reduction targets and incentivise low- and zero-tailpipe-emission vehicles, whilst preserving a technology neutral approach, thus leading the way to a decarbonised European vehicle fleet, which will require the deployment of an adequate infrastructure network for alternative fuels; whereas the revision of the Directive on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles complements the Directive on alternative fuels by guaranteeing demand for suppliers and increasing the uptake of clean vehicles;

K.  whereas 94 % of Europe’s transport sector is dependent on oil, 90 % of which has to be imported, including from some politically unstable countries;

L.  whereas according to Directive 2014/94/EU, alternative fuels still encompass fuels of fossil origin, thus contradicting the goal of decarbonisation and the phasing out of fossil fuels; whereas priority should be assigned to low- and zero-tailpipe emission solutions over the entire life-cycle of vehicles; whereas for heavy-duty vehicles and in the shipping sector, however, Liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Compressed natural gas (CNG) may contribute in the short and medium-term to the improvement of air quality, in particular around ports and along coastlines;

M.  whereas the energy and transport sectors need to be coupled more closely together in order to allow for deep decarbonisation in mobility; whereas energy carriers such as electricity and hydrogen allow for zero-emission mobility while integrating renewable energy sources (RES); whereas with the energy sector progressively shifting towards using RES only, storage for excess energy in periods of low demand has to be provided; whereas Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) can contribute to that end; whereas low-emission energy sources will be an intermediate step in the shift towards zero-emission mobility; whereas technology neutrality should therefore be the starting point for the roll-out of alternative fuels infrastructure;

N.  whereas lithium-ion cells, a key component of electric vehicle batteries, are nearly all produced outside of the European Union, mainly in Asia;

O.  whereas smart, robust electricity grids, better integration of power and gas grids via power-to-gas, access to the grid for charging service providers and private charging points and the roll-out of Hydrogen Refuelling Stations are key to electromobility; whereas with BEV and FCEV smart and controlled charging can help balance grids, but there is still a lack of regulatory, tax and technical frameworks;

P.  whereas the TEN-T networks constitute the main transport networks in the European Union; whereas focussing on deploying alternative fuels infrastructure and pursuing the goal established in the communication to provide full coverage of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) core network corridors with charging points by 2025 should be a key priority; whereas this target should be further complemented with the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure both on the comprehensive TEN-T network and in urban, rural and sparsely populated areas, taking into consideration structural and economic constraints, in order to achieve a balanced coverage;

1.  Welcomes the aforementioned Commission communication on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure; highlights that further coordination and cooperation at EU level is needed in order to decarbonise the transport sector by 2050 and underlines the opportunities for industry, technology and employment presented by the deployment of alternative fuels and the corresponding infrastructure;

Stepping up efforts

2.  Calls, however, on the Commission to bring forward a revision of Directive 2014/94/EU, while maintaining the current definition of alternative fuels as listed in Article 2, and to focus on its proper implementation, taking into account that only 8 of 25 Member States have so far fully implemented it, in order to fill the gaps in alternative fuels infrastructure throughout the European Union; stresses the need to increase the uptake of alternative fuels and to create a stable environment for investment;

3.  Notes that the Commission’s evaluation of the National Framework Plans (NFPs) reveals differing levels of effort, ambition and available funding between Member States and that the deployment of alternative fuels falls short of being comprehensive and evenly distributed; calls therefore on the Commission to thoroughly assess the NFP projects and ambition levels, to suggest additional measures where needed and to support Member States with best practice examples; invites the Commission to replace the system of NFPs with more efficient instruments, including concrete, binding and enforceable targets, to formulate sustainability criteria; suggests that the Commission take into account the projected and realised uptake of alternative-fuel vehicles and their technological progress, allow Member States flexibility in determining how to reach the targets, and pursue the goal of having a trans-European infrastructure network for all alternative fuels that is accessible, compatible and interoperable;

4.  Calls for the projected increase in journeys and in the volumes transported up to 2030 to be taken into account in order to calculate the scale and appropriately equip the new infrastructure; stresses the importance of the technological advances that are already under way or in the pipeline in the fields of batteries, hydrogen and energy storage, and stresses the need to take account of these advances in the strategic choices that are to be made; notes that new infrastructure must be adaptable to changes, both in terms of volumes and in terms of technologies; stresses, for example, that a massive increase in the number of electric vehicles coupled with an increase in the range of those vehicles to 400 km will have an impact on the deployment density of the network of charging stations, as well as on the type of charging required;

5.  Suggests an annual evaluation of the Member States’ implementation status and broadening of the Directive’s scope to shift it from deployment along the TEN-T core network to also covering the TEN-T comprehensive network, urban and regional nodes, and areas reaching the 'high' level of the European Air Quality Index (EAQI) on more than 35 days in a year and with a population density six times higher than the EU average density, in order to achieve a geographically broad coverage, and to also include the infrastructure for public fleets; calls on the Commission to extend the scope of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)in this regard and to increase its funding;

6.  Supports electrified roads that allow electric vehicles to charge as they drive; calls for their wider development, at least along the TEN-T Core and Comprehensive network roads; believes that electrified roads could be a solution making it possible to reduce battery size and, consequently, the prices of new vehicles;

7.  Calls on the Commission to create a level playing field between the different alternative fuels ensuring technology neutrality, especially when promoting distribution infrastructure, thus making hydrogen infrastructure mandatory with deployment requirements equal to those for CNG, but adjusting these deployment requirements;

8.  Underlines the importance of sustainable urban planning, shifting from private use to shared and public use of transport and calling on the Commission and Member States to particularly turn their attention to the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure for collective and public transport services, such as buses, trams, trains, shared cars, taxis and mini vans, as well as for bicycles, scooters and motorcycles; encourages the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in urban and suburban areas, giving priority to those where air quality is poor;

9.  Encourages the local and regional authorities participating in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy to strive to include concrete measures in their Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs), in particular for the construction or completion of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles;

10.  Calls on the Commission to complement the climate-related goals of Directive 2014/94/EU with additional clean air measures following the fitness check of the EU Ambient Air Quality Directives 2004/107/EC(4) and 2008/50/EC(5) ;

11.  Draws attention to the importance of sustainable public procurement of alternatively powered vehicles as a driver of demand for alternative fuels and alternative fuels infrastructure;

12.  Encourages the provision of clean power supply at airports (for use in stationary planes as well as for mobile equipment at airports) in order to cut kerosene consumption, improve air quality, and reduce climate change impact and noise pollution;

Clean Mobility Fund: financing alternative fuels infrastructure

13.  Welcomes the Commission’s effort to provide an additional EUR 800 million as start-up financing to support the uptake of alternative fuels infrastructure; doubts, however, that the leverage will be sufficient given the projected need for EUR 5,2 billion up to 2020 and an additional EUR 16-22 billion of overall investment up to 2025(6) ; urges the Commission to increase the initial funding, to support not only the deployment but also the operation of such infrastructure during the unprofitable market uptake phase, and to focus on the needs of public transport operators, including for supporting infrastructure such as maintenance workshops; highlights that additional public and especially private investment is needed;

14.  Suggests that the estimated necessary investment of EUR 25 billion up to 2025 could be co-funded, with the European Union contributing around 10 % and around 90 % coming from industry, notably manufacturers, suppliers, energy and fuel producers and other interested parties; stresses that alternative fuels infrastructure projects should have access to grants and loans provided by the CEF, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the EC IPE (Investment Plan for Europe), while always ensuring there is no distortion of the market; requests that financial resources from the fund should be awarded according to the criteria of sustainability, feasibility, technology neutrality, climate targets, European added value, the achievement of deployment goals and cohesion policy; asks that the INEA, which already oversees the CEF, become the responsible agency;

15.  Considers that the European Structural and Investment Funds 2 (ESIF 2), as well as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Cohesion Fund (CF), Invest EU and Horizon Europe, are appropriate instruments to support the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure and continuous investment in research and innovation in order to achieve a better level of sector coupling, such as transport and energy;

16.  Calls on the Commission to review Directive 1999/94/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(7) on consumer information on cars; takes the view that such a review should aim to substantially improve the information consumers receive about fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions, and to make it possible to compare the efficiency of and emissions from traditional and alternative fuel technologies for transport under real-life conditions;

17.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a regulation on roaming on alternative publicly accessible fuels infrastructure, at least in the TEN-T network;

18.  Notes that taxation has a major impact on the price competitiveness of alternative fuels; calls therefore on Member States to review their energy taxation frameworks in order to facilitate and incentivise the uptake of low-carbon and carbon-free alternative fuels and to remove present disparities in energy taxation between different transport modes, for example on electricity used for shore-side supply for ships and energy used to generate alternative fuels, including power-to-gas as storage for intermittent renewable energies;

19.  Calls on the Commission to support the decarbonisation of the maritime and shipping sector with a clear focus on innovation, digitisation and adaptation of ports and ships; calls on the Commission, Member States and their regions, to establish a common ‘LNG blue corridors project for islands’, in particular for the outermost regions; emphasises that shore-side energy supply at both inland and maritime ports can contribute substantially to reducing noise, CO2 and other pollutant emissions while improving air quality;

Alternative fuels - an alternative industrial policy

20.  Regrets that progress regarding the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure and the availability of alternatively powered vehicles is too slow, with only 19 Battery Electric Vehicles and 25 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles available in 2017 compared to 417 models with ICEs, and calls on manufacturers to step up efforts in this regard; recognises the need for policies that incentivise the use of zero- and low-tailpipe-emission vehicles and stimulate the offer of alternatively fuelled light and heavy-duty vehicles, such as ambitious emissions standards in 2025 and 2030 for new light and heavy-duty vehicles, including strong incentives for zero- and low-tailpipe emission vehicles; recognises at the same time the need for greater public and private investment;

21.  Emphasises the connection between the availability of alternatively fuelled vehicles, the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure and consumer demand for these technologies; highlights, in this regard, that moving towards alternative fuels and powertrains could help the industry to be globally competitive and keep high-quality jobs in Europe, while making up for the missed opportunities in decarbonising the car industry and for the lack of investment in sustainable transport; stresses that the increased uptake of alternatively fuelled vehicles will lower production costs and accelerate the reduction in the total cost of ownership;

22.  Recalls the importance of a functioning internal market ensuring easy accessibility of fuelling stations, interoperability of payment services and technical standards, transparent fuel pricing and interoperability between servers and data formats; stresses in this respect the importance of timely, easily understandable, accurate, accessible and transparent information to consumers and the accessibility of this information through an open data platform; calls for the deployment of multi-energy stations so as to avoid the creation of various different distribution networks for each type of power supply;

23.  Notes that most charging of electric vehicles will occur at home or at work, complemented by charging at public and semi-public places such as supermarkets, train stations or airports; stresses in this regard that a greater focus on smart charging solutions is needed, grid stability must be ensured and self-consumption enabled; underlines that for long-distance electromobility fast- and ultra-fast charging stations are needed along highways, main road systems and network nodes; highlights that open access to charging points, interoperability of technology and payments and the free choice of energy, including renewable energy, and suppliers are key factors for a functioning system;

24.  Welcomes the Commission’s initiative for a sustainable European Battery Alliance and strongly supports the establishment of European battery cell production focussing on next-generation technology; calls on the Commission to extend the initiative to other powertrains such as fuel cells in order to maintain European technology leadership;

25.  Calls on the Commission to assess the feasibility of life-cycle assessments for all alternative fuels, batteries and powertrain solutions in order to sustainably decarbonise the transport sector and evaluate their emissions and impact on energy and water demand, land use, the environment and communities;

o   o

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 307, 28.10.2014, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 120, 15.5.2009, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 307, 28.10.2014, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 23, 26.1.2005, p. 3.
(5) OJ L 152, 11.6.2008, p. 1.
(6) COM(2017)0652.
(7) OJ L 12, 18.1.2000, p. 16.

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