Electric-car production in the European Union got a spur on Wednesday as EU
regulators acted to close a technological gap with China
by seeking stricter emission curbs on manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The European Commission, the EU’s regulatory arm, proposed a 30 per cent reduction in car discharges of carbon dioxide by 2030 compared with 2021 levels, as part of a stepped-up fight against global warming. The plan, which will progressively tighten existing CO2 limits, features incentives for automakers to shift to electric vehicles.
“There’s a component of trying to facilitate the development of a powerful car-manufacturing industry of electric vehicles,” Miguel Arias Canete, EU
climate and energy commissioner, said in an interview in his Brussels office. “There will be a race for developing clean-energy vehicles. We are seeing that others
are taking the global lead.”
is gearing up for a technological revolution in road transport that would push the traditional internal combustion engine from showrooms into museums in a bid to retain leadership in the worldwide market for passenger cars.
The commission is taking advantage of the landmark climate-protection agreement reached by almost 200 countries in Paris in late 2015 to get a grip on European road-transport pollution, which has bucked a general trend of falling EU
discharges of greenhouse gases including CO2 that are blamed for climate change.
Under the Paris accord, the EU
aims to slash such pollution by at least 40 percent in 2030.
expands its electric-vehicle prowess with the blunt policy of quotas, Europe
is counting on a more nuanced approach that would force carmakers to choose between making the combustion engine cleaner or abandoning it in favour of electric vehicles.
“The production of Tesla
cars in 2016 was around 80,000 cars,” Canete said. “The big problem is China, which has a mandatory target of 10 per cent in 2019, 12 per cent in 2020 and 7.5 million vehicles per year in the future.”
The Chinese market already boasts 400 types of electric vehicles, whereas Europe
has six, according to Canete. India, meanwhile, aims for all new passenger cars sold by 2030 to be electric. “There is a huge gap between the European Union, which invented the car, and developing countries,” Canete said.