Electric road vehicles in the European Union: Trends, impacts and policies

03-04-2019

Technological advances and societal changes have triggered a drastic evolution in mobility. Alongside other trends, such as digitalisation, autonomous driving and shared mobility, electric mobility is also gaining momentum. Electric mobility could help the EU to achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, noise and dependence on oil. However, the extent of this help will depend on a number of factors, such as the share of electric vehicles in the overall vehicle fleet and how environmentally friendly electric vehicles can remain throughout their life cycle. Global sales of new electric road vehicles have been growing significantly in recent years, largely driven by the mass expansion of this mode of transport in China. Despite its rapid growth, the EU market for such vehicles is still small, and largely dependent on support policies. Most electric road vehicles are concentrated in a few northern and western Member States, although southern and eastern ones have recently recorded the biggest sales growth. Over the years, the EU has taken various actions to support electric mobility. For instance, EU-level measures have been encouraging the use of renewable electricity and smart charging; helping to develop and standardise charging infrastructure; and supporting research on batteries. Local, regional and national-level incentives (such as the introduction of lower taxes or the provision of free public parking for electric vehicles) are also promoting electric mobility. Countries that offer generous incentives and good charging infrastructure typically have a bigger market share for electric road vehicles.

Technological advances and societal changes have triggered a drastic evolution in mobility. Alongside other trends, such as digitalisation, autonomous driving and shared mobility, electric mobility is also gaining momentum. Electric mobility could help the EU to achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, noise and dependence on oil. However, the extent of this help will depend on a number of factors, such as the share of electric vehicles in the overall vehicle fleet and how environmentally friendly electric vehicles can remain throughout their life cycle. Global sales of new electric road vehicles have been growing significantly in recent years, largely driven by the mass expansion of this mode of transport in China. Despite its rapid growth, the EU market for such vehicles is still small, and largely dependent on support policies. Most electric road vehicles are concentrated in a few northern and western Member States, although southern and eastern ones have recently recorded the biggest sales growth. Over the years, the EU has taken various actions to support electric mobility. For instance, EU-level measures have been encouraging the use of renewable electricity and smart charging; helping to develop and standardise charging infrastructure; and supporting research on batteries. Local, regional and national-level incentives (such as the introduction of lower taxes or the provision of free public parking for electric vehicles) are also promoting electric mobility. Countries that offer generous incentives and good charging infrastructure typically have a bigger market share for electric road vehicles.