Europe puts the pedal to the metal with electric cars
The European Union has made one thing clear: it wants to stay ahead of industry trends and accelerate the transition towards sustainable mobility. Manufacturers get in gear.
“Combustion engines will disappear much sooner than we expect,” said the Commissioner for Industry, Elzbieta Bienkowska emphatically in a recent speech for the European Commission. She also added something to give us food for thought: “At the beginning of the last decade we didn’t believe in the smartphone and we were wrong. If our automotive industry wants to be competitive in the medium and long term, it has to adapt to changes as soon as possible. The key is to anticipate.”
The commissioner spoke with full knowledge: according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), European manufacturers and suppliers went from 33% of world sales before the crisis to 24% today. Add Chinese competition to this, where they manufacture cars that are increasingly competitive and are advancing quickly in the development of electric vehicles. That is why, according to the European Commission, our continent’s brands must get ahead of the curve with this type of car since “electric mobility is clearly the mobility of the future”. Increased investment in infrastructure and charging point networks are among some of the planned measures “which will further promote the purchase of electric vehicles,” as Bienkowska assured, also adding: “However, car manufacturers must definitively invest in this type of mobility and less so in improving combustion engines.”
Steps towards European electric mobility
Some countries have already taken their own initiatives outside of EU regulations: France and the United Kingdom recently announced that from 2040 on, the sale of cars with petrol and diesel engines will be definitively banned. Germany plans to do the same 10 years before this, although there is still no firm decision. Norway and the Netherlands have set their goal for 2025. Meanwhile, many European capitals already plan medium-term restrictions for traffic of particularly polluting cars in their city centres, focusing on diesel engines.
In Europe, they are studying several EU initiatives to accelerate the transition to electric mobility. Many experts agree on what they consider to be the most effective measure: the quota system. So, the European Parliament currently has on the table the possibility of requiring by law that 25% of the vehicles sold be electric-powered by 2025, and is even studying the possibility of prohibiting combustion engine cars by 2035.
So far, none of these measures have been confirmed, but they are in the process of being proposed and give the feeling that Europe is very serious about pushing electric cars in order to be competitive in the global automotive industry and to be able to meet the climate change objectives signed in the Paris Agreement.
We have a very tangible example that proves this: according to a recent study by the Deloitte consulting firm in Spain, in 2020 more than 300,000 electric cars will need to be on the road in order to meet Spain’s environmental goals, which is no small number, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80%thus by 2050.