Urgent Statement: Reversing the 2035 zero emission cars goal will harm EU industry

Urgent Statement

Reversing the 2035 zero emission cars goal will harm EU industry

12th June 2024,

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The Platform for Electromobility is very concerned by recent statements calling on the incoming European Commission to reverse the already agreed on CO2 Standards for cars and vans. Today, the 2035 zero emission cars goal is Europe’s most straight-forward EV industrial strategy bringing vital investment to European companies.

We strongly warn against undermining key EU legislation already agreed by MEPs and EU countries in the last legislative period.

Attracting investment to create the net-zero industrial ecosystem for zero-emission mobility is not possible without a consistent, clear regulatory framework.

To “hit reverse” now would also significantly penalise all industrial actors, including many of our members, who have already invested in this transition (automotive, batteries, infrastructure, etc.).

The cars and vans CO2 legislation, as agreed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in 2023, is also in the interest of European consumers: it will increase the offer and promote the market uptake of zero-emission vehicles. With an increased market, zero-emissions vehicles will become more affordable with a continuously reduced total cost of ownership and there will be more choice for consumers. This will also help tackle air quality and noise issues, further benefitting European citizens.

The Platform for Electromobility, a 47-member strong alliance, urges the incoming European Commission President to safeguard the agreement settled between the Parliament and the Council ensuring all new cars and vans sold by 2035 will be zero-emission. Reneging on this deal not only puts at risk the EU’s goal to fully decarbonise road transport by 2050 but undermines Europe’s re-industrialisation efforts and global competitiveness.

30 investments priorities by 2030 for sustainable mobility

Energy, Infrastructure, Industry

Our recommendations for a “European Net-Zero Infrastructure Investment Plan

Without deployment of high-speed charging infrastructure for electric trucks, a high quality and interoperable rail network as well as integrated recycling facilities, the Green Deal will remain simply a paper tiger.

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The Platform for Electromobility supports the overall shift in European policy priorities established the European Green Deal. The Deal acts as a valuable long-term compass, particularly in light of the pending elections and the appointment of a new Commission. In 2023, two pivotal pieces of legislation supporting the shift – the Net Zero Industrial Act and the Critical Raw Materials Act – were enacted. However, while these measures are welcome first steps, they call for a complementary initiative: a robust European Net-Zero Infrastructure Investment Plan.

A comprehensive Net Zero Investment Plan is essential if the EU Green Deal is to be implemented effectively within an appropriate timeframe. European companies and industries will require additional financing in order to transition to net zero, particularly given the support provided by competitors such as the US and China. Whether it is an “Investment Plan for Jobs and Clean Technologies”, an “Investment Plan for the Green Transition”, a “major investment plan to fund green industries and infrastructure” or a “massive investment spending plan for the creation of green jobs and the transformation of industry, transport and energy” – by the European People’s Party, the Party of European Socialists, the European Greens and The Left, respectively, it is clear that investment stands as a cross-partisan priority.

As outlined in our EU election manifesto, a significant investment plan post-elections is essential for ensuring the successful implementation of the Green Deal. This will benefit individuals, the climate and businesses alike, targeting sectors crucial to achieving Net Zero goals. Without deployment of high-speed charging infrastructure for electric trucks, a high quality and interoperable rail network as well as integrated recycling facilities, the Green Deal will remain simply a paper tiger. It is imperative that we make these and other long-term, easily accessible investments. Ensuring legacy of the Green Deal with a large investment plan must take centre stage during the upcoming European elections. It is the democratic moment that would legitimise such a leap forward.

At the Platform for Electromobility, our focus is on identifying priorities for the sustainable transport sectors as a whole, ensuring they work synergistically while avoiding duplication or contradictory expenditure. This document offers an overview of the required investment priorities for the myriad sectors that will constitute tomorrow’s clean mobility ecosystem. We therefore aim to support policy makers in determining the content and priorities of such a cross-partisan investment plan.

Below, 30 investment priorities in seven areas have been identified, in order to respond to three policy imperatives: deploying hard infrastructure, implementing industrial policy and supporting the shift to zero-emissions vehicles. Those priorities are closely intertwined, build on each other and create valuable synergies.

While financial considerations are paramount, they must not be the sole focus. The Green Deal also requires further legislative measures for proper implementation, such as industrial policy reforms, corporate fleet mandates and electricity market design overhauls.  We have chosen to refrain from delving into financial arrangements, in order to maintain focus on our area of expertise: sustainable mobility.

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30 priorities over seven areas, across three pillars.

Discover the details of the report.

1/ Investing in energy and transport infrastructure to enable the Green Deal

Energy Infrastructures (14.5%)Charging Infrastructure (21%)Off-road infrastructures (18,9%)

2/ Invest for competitive, sustainable, European transport industries

Circularity value chain (10.0%)‘Made-in-Europe’ manufacturing (14.9%)Skills and workforce (10.5%)

3/ Support the roll-out of zero-emissions vehicles cross all modes

New, decarbonised fleets (4.8%)
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Methodology - Results are based on a preliminary questionnaire, distributed on a voluntary basis to the members of the Platform for Electromobility. The preliminary findings have been discussed and debated within each of the Platform’s six thematic working groups. The final outcomes have been validated by all members following the Platform’s Memorandum of Understanding validation processes.

Support the roll-out of zero-emissions vehicles cross all modes

Net Zero Investment Plan

Area 7: Invest in new, decarbonised fleets (5.7%)

Accelerating the transition to sustainable transport involves electrifying corporate and leasing car fleets, van and truck fleets, and acquiring zero-emission trains, with targeted funding and incentives playing a crucial role in promoting widespread adoption and achieving ambitious climate goals.

Share of investment needs dedicated to fleets renewal

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Fleet renewal Priorities

Electrification of Corporate and Leasing Car Fleets

Electrification of Van and Truck Fleets

Acquisition of Zero-Emission Trains

  1. Electrification of Corporate and Leasing Car Fleets

Electrification of corporate and leasing car fleets presents a significant opportunity for accelerating the transition to sustainable transport. A European ‘Marshall Plan’, akin to the post-COVID recovery plan, could play a pivotal role in expediting fleet renewal over a ten-year period. By providing targeted funding and incentives, Europe can encourage the widespread adoption of electric vehicles within corporate and leasing fleets, thus reducing emissions, promoting innovation and stimulating economic growth.

  1. Electrification of Van and Truck Fleets

Electrification of van and truck fleets is essential for achieving ambitious climate goals and reducing emissions from the transport sector. Investing in electrification of commercial fleets can yield substantial environmental and economic benefits.

  1. Acquisition of Zero-Emission Trains

As Europe transitions to zero-emission transport, there is a pressing need to acquire new zero-emission rolling stock to replace ageing diesel fleets. Given that the average lifespan of rolling stock in Europe is approximately 30 years, targeted investments in zero-emission trains will be crucial for phasing out diesel propulsion and advancing rail electrification efforts. Infrastructure managers and operators – particularly in Central and Eastern Europe where rolling stock fleets are older – stand to benefit significantly from investments in new zero-emission rolling stock. By supporting the acquisition of zero-emission trains, Europe can modernise its rail infrastructure, reduce emissions and promote sustainable mobility throughout the continent.

Investing in energy infrastructure to enable the Green Deal

Net Zero Investment Plan

Area 1 : Energy Infrastructures (14.5%)

Investment in TSO and DSO infrastructure, energy storage solutions, renewable energy sources, and grid modernization, including smart grid deployment for Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) applications, is critical for facilitating electric transport adoption and enhancing energy resilience in Europe.

Share of investment needs dedicated to energy infrastructures

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Energy Priorities

TSO and DSO Expansion/Upgrade

Energy Storage Solutions

Development of Renewable Energy Sources

Modernising the Grid

Smart Grid Deployment/V2G

  1. TSO and DSO Expansion/Upgrade

Expanding and upgrading TSO and DSO infrastructure is imperative for meeting the growing demand for electricity and facilitating the widespread adoption of electric transport. These upgrades are essential for supporting charging infrastructure for both light-duty vehicles (LDVs) and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), as well as for enhancing maritime and inland port grids. Reinforcing connections to the national grid for shore-side electricity will boost energy resilience and promote cleaner transport options.

  1. Energy Storage Solutions

Energy storage solutions play a crucial role in relieving grid congestion and accelerating the integration of renewable energy sources. Investing in such technologies will enhance grid flexibility, mitigate the variability issues associated with renewables, and support the transition to a more-sustainable and resilient energy system. Prioritising energy storage solution development and deployment is essential for ensuring grid stability and promoting renewable energy deployment.

  1. Development of Renewable Energy Sources

The electrification of transport is impossible without decarbonised electricity. Expanding carbon-free energy sources is fundamental to achieving energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and advancing the energy transition. Europe must prioritise the development of wind, solar and hydro – as well as other renewable and decarbonised energy sources – if it is to diversify the energy mix and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.

  1. Modernising the Grid

Digitising and modernising the grid are essential for improving demand-supply management and streamlining the process for creating new grid connections. Through embracing digital technologies, Europe can enhance grid reliability, optimise energy distribution and support the integration of distributed energy resources. Modernising the grid will also provide the foundations for future advancements in smart grid deployment and enable realisation of benefits such as vehicle-o-grid (V2G) capabilities.

  1. Smart Grid Deployment/V2G

Supporting smart grid deployment, particularly for V2G applications, is essential for optimising grid operations and leveraging the potential of electric vehicles as grid assets. Smart charging technologies enable EVs to be part of demand response programmes, thus helping balance supply and demand on the grid. Investing in smart grid infrastructure will allow for the efficient use of resources, minimise grid constraints and facilitate the transition to a more flexible and resilient energy system without heavy investment in infrastructure.

Invest skills for competitive, sustainable, European transport industries

Net Zero Investment Plan

Area 6: Invest in skills and workforce (10.5%)

Unlocking Europe’s decarbonization potential requires mapping training needs, expanding training capacity, and launching awareness campaigns to cultivate a skilled workforce for sustainable transportation.

Share of investment needs dedicated to skills developments

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Skills and Workforce Priorities

Mapping training needs and training capacities

Increasing existing training capacity

Awareness Campaigns

Developing a skilled workforce is essential for successfully decarbonising the transport sector. Addressing skills shortages, promoting job creation and enhancing training capacity are key priorities requiring coordinated efforts from the EU institutions, Member States and industry stakeholders.

  1. Mapping training needs and training capacities

The EU institutions and Member States must undertake a comprehensive skills mapping exercise to identify gaps and assess the needs for jobs and skills in various sectors. This should encompass both the traditional and new skills required to deliver decarbonisation. Based on the gaps identified, tools should be developed to publicise available training opportunities and instigate new training programmes where necessary.

  1. Increasing existing training capacity

To meet the growing demand for skilled workers, there should be investment in increasing training capacity, including improving Vocational Education and Training (VET) schools and recruiting suitably qualified teachers. Urgent action is needed to address the time required to adequately train workers, in order to ensure the steady supply of skilled labour for industries transitioning to sustainability. By enhancing training infrastructure and resources, Europe can build a workforce with the ability to advance the energy transition. Initiatives such as the ‘Net-Zero Academy’ can serve as role models for supporting skills development initiatives across Europe.

  1. Awareness Campaigns

Investment in awareness campaigns is crucial for attracting greater numbers of workers to technical jobs and education, particularly in those sectors undergoing energy transition. Such campaigns should target young people, to cultivate their long-term interest and engagement in sustainable professions. By raising awareness of the opportunities available in decarbonisation sectors, Europe can inspire the coming generation of skilled workers and drive innovation in clean technologies.