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CARS 2020: 7% of EU car sales will be EVs in 2020

12 November 2012

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With 12 million sector-related jobs the automotive industry is vital for Europe's prosperity and job creation. To maintain a world-class car industry and produce the most energy efficient and safe vehicles globally, the European Commission tabled on 8 November 2012 the CARS 2020 Action Plan aimed at reinforcing this industry's competitiveness and sustainability heading towards 2020.

The Commission proposes a massive innovative push by streamlining research and innovation under the European Green Vehicle Initiative. Co-operation with the European Investment Bank will be reinforced to finance an innovation boost and facilitate SME access to credit. An EU standard recharging interface will provide the regulatory certainty needed to facilitate a breakthrough for large scale electric car production.

Innovation in the automotive industry will also be stimulated through a comprehensive package of measures to reduce CO2, pollutant and noise emissions, to drive improvements in road safety and develop technologically-advanced intelligent transport systems (ITS).

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "Europe produces the best cars in the world. The Commission wants this leadership to be maintained, moving even further ahead in safety and environmental performance. The Commission therefore presented a strategy for the EU automotive industry and will also take urgent action to address this sector's current difficulties and restructuring in a co-ordinated way. […] Today’s (8 November 2012) Plan will give the car industry all possible political support."

Four pillars of the Action Plan – Summary of EV propositions

The Action Plan comprises concrete proposals for policy initiatives under four main themes:

  • Investing in advanced technologies and financing innovation
  • Stronger internal market and smart regulation
  • Global markets and the international harmonisation of vehicle regulations
  • Anticipating adaptation and softening the social impacts of industrial adjustments
Under these four pillars, the Commission proposes to:
  • develop a proposal on the European Green Vehicles Initiative setting a clear thematic priority of energy-efficiency and alternative powertrains,
  • continue working with the European Investment Bank in order to explore with the EIB the possibility of financing projects linked to electro-mobility,
  • implement the 2020 CO2 targets for cars and vans,
  • start a broad consultation on CO2 regulatory policy for cars and vans beyond 2020,
  • actively support the development and implementation of a new driving test-cycle and test procedure to measure fuel consumption and emissions from cars and vans in a way that is more representative of real-world driving,
  • define complementary measures controlling vehicle pollutant emissions in use, based on a thorough analysis, with the aim of delivering a timely reduction of real-world pollutant emissions, hence, contributing to improved air quality,
  • continue to implement safety of new vehicle technologies (EVs),
  • set up an Alternative Fuels Strategy supporting the need for a range of alternative fuels, covering electricity, hydrogen, sustainable biofuels, natural gas and LPG and adopt a legislative proposal on alternative fuel infrastructure, concerning the deployment of a minimum refuelling/recharging infrastructure and common standards for certain fuels, including electric vehicles.
  • ensure by a legislative measure that practical and satisfactory solutions for the infrastructure side of the recharging interface for electric vehicles are implemented throughout the EU.
  • put forward guidelines for financial incentives for clean and energy-efficient vehicles established by Member States in order to maximise their environmental effectiveness and limit the fragmentation of the market.
  • steer the work of the two informal working groups on (1) safety and (2) environmental performance of electric vehicles with a view to agreeing a Global Technical Regulation (GTR) on the safety of electric vehicles in 2014 and a common approach in terms of policy on environmental performance of electric vehicles.

Next steps

The adoption of the Action Plan, following the CARS 21 Report, is not the end of the process. In order to monitor the implementation of the policies announced and continue the dialogue with the stakeholders, a dedicated process will be established called “CARS 2020”, to be launched in 2013.

Background information on the sector

The European automotive industry is one of the biggest industries in Europe with more than €700 billion in turnover. There are some 180 vehicle plants across the EU. The industry provides over 12 million direct and indirect jobs with a significant share of highly skilled workforce. Due to the current macro-economic situation, automotive sales in EU markets have declined this year (a 6.8% decline for the first half of 2012 for passenger cars and a 10.8% decline for commercial vehicles) - compared to already low sales levels of 2011. Recovery of growth is expected only in 2014/2015 and a return to pre-crisis levels is not expected in the next 4-5 years.

The industry is a key driver of knowledge and innovation as it is the largest private investor in R&D (around €30 billion in 2010) and a world leader in the development of safety and environmentally favourable performance technologies. The industry is currently investing and preparing for both fuel efficiency improvement of conventional engines and the deployment of electric vehicles.

While electric vehicles sales in EU in 2011 reached only 11 000 units, electro-mobility is firmly on track and it is expected that by 2020, registrations of vehicles with traditional combustion engines will fall while the registrations of electric vehicles will increase its share to 7%.


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