Transport: EU Court of Auditors: E-cars must reach the masses

Transport: EU Court of Auditors: E-cars must reach the masses

Despite ambitious targets, cars in Europe continue to emit a lot of CO2, complains the European Court of Auditors. The auditors see numerous obstacles on the way to emission-free road transport.

According to the European Court of Auditors, there are numerous challenges standing in the way of the EU’s goal of being climate neutral by 2050. One obstacle to the transport transition is that some European electric cars are too expensive, the Court of Auditors announced on Monday. Electric vehicles need to reach the masses. In addition, the charging network in Europe has large holes. Alternative fuels are also not a real alternative because the quantity is simply not enough.

The transport sector is responsible for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, half of which comes from cars alone. Despite more efficient engines, it has been shown that “most conventional cars still emit as much CO2 as they did twelve years ago, despite ambitious goals and strict requirements,” said Nikolaos Milionis from the European Court of Auditors. According to the information, this is mainly due to the fact that the cars became heavier and the engines more powerful.

With the so-called Green Deal, the EU wants to become climate neutral by 2050. An important step towards this: From 2035 onwards, new cars that run on petrol or diesel will no longer be allowed to be registered.

Problems with electric cars, batteries and charging stations

In order to replace combustion engines in road traffic, great hopes are being placed on electric cars. However, the European battery industry is lagging behind in global competition, as the auditors found. Not even ten percent of global battery production takes place in Europe. A particular problem for EU producers is the high level of dependence on imports of raw materials from third countries.

According to auditors, the cost of batteries produced in the EU remains much higher than planned, despite extensive public support. This has a significant impact on the costs of electric cars. However, the switch from combustion engines to electric cars should not result in consumers having to dig ever deeper into their pockets.

The charging infrastructure also needs to be significantly improved. It is still a challenge to cross the EU with electric cars. According to the information, around 70 percent of all charging stations are concentrated in just 3 of 27 EU countries – France, Germany and the Netherlands. There is a shortage of charging points, particularly in Eastern Europe.

Alternative fuels not yet viable

The Court of Auditors complained that no viable solution had yet been found for alternative fuels. “Because they are not widely available, biofuels do not represent a reliable and credible alternative for cars,” Milionis said.

The biomass produced in Europe is not enough to be a real alternative to conventional fuels. If imports are needed for alternative fuels, the EU will become more dependent on other countries. In addition, according to information, biofuels are currently simply too expensive.

Source: Stern

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