EU calls for an ‘Airbus of batteries’ to push forward electric car tech

European leaders worried China and US are pulling ahead in EV developments

The European Commission is calling for co-operation among EU car makers to create bigger, better batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) as there are concerns that the US and China are both outstripping Europe when it comes to electric car technology

The European Commission is calling for co-operation among EU car makers to create bigger, better batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) as there are concerns that the US and China are both outstripping Europe when it comes to electric car technology

 

The European Commission is calling for co-operation among EU car makers to create bigger, better batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) as there are concerns that the US and China are both outstripping Europe when it comes to electric car technology. The call is being likened to the creation of the Airbus consortium in the 1970s, at a time when Europe’s aircraft makers were struggling to compete with US giant Boeing.

Speaking at the 30th International electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition in Stuttgart, the European Commission vice-president in charge of energy, Maros Sefcovic, said that “Europe as a whole, has been at the forefront of all the major transportation revolutions of the past - railway, combustion engines, aviation. I am convinced that the European car industry can pave the way of the global transition to clean and connected mobility. I am convinced that Europe can become the continent of smart and clean car infrastructure. We are better equipped to make that giant leap than any other part of the world. We need to work together for that to happen. Policy making is not done in an ivory tower in Brussels. ”

Mr Sefcovic said that statements from car makers such as Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, and others that they are committed to making electric versions of all of their vehicles is welcome, but that there needs to me more effort made to push the technology forward, not least with the looming date of 2040 when several countries and cities have said that they will ban the sales of cars that have only internal combustion engines.

“For me, these are all indications that Europe is on the right track. But we need to accelerate this process. That obliges us to work hand in hand across policy fields, across sectors, across industries in order to make a holistic transition, modernising Europe’s economy. That is why, at a European level, we presented comprehensive legislation last November on the new electricity model we foresee” said Mr Sefcovic, who also pointed out that there may need to be a system of tax or other credits available for car makers who produce the most EVs. “

But if we want low emission vehicles to enter the market it will not be enough to set targets for greenhouse gases. We need a signal to investors, manufacturers, financial institutions, governments at all levels, the electricity system, and, not to forget, the consumer. That is why we are considering to propose either a mandate or a crediting system to push for a certain amount of zero emission vehicles and low emission vehicles. Only such a signal will give the needed certainty.”

Mr Sefcovic’s words come as the European Parliament has voted in favour of legislation that all non-residential premises must now have electric car charging points. MEPs approved a section of the new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which states that large non-residential buildings (basically, shops, offices, and public buildings) ensure high visibility for and intensive use of EV charging points.

Welcoming the decision on behalf of the Platform for Electro-Mobility (an EU-based EV pressure group), Teodora Serafimova of Bellona Europa said: “MEPs rightly see the need to make charging points obligatory in non-residential buildings. Larger office buildings and commercial centres often provide parking spaces that are not limited to a single employee or customer, and so ensure greater visibility and maximum use of the charging points.”