Europe wants to fundamentally change its transports
The European Commission presents its plan for green, smart and affordable mobility
The European Commission presented its “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy” together with an Action Plan of 82 initiatives that will guide the work for the next four years. This strategy lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. As outlined in the European Green Deal, the result will be a 90% cut in emissions by 2050, delivered by a smart, competitive, safe, accessible and affordable transport system.
Electric vehicles will be the stars of the EU roads. According to the document, all transport modes need to become more sustainable, with green alternatives widely available and the right incentives put in place to drive the transition. Concrete milestones will keep the European transport system’s journey towards a smart and sustainable future on track. As regards the automotive industry, Brussels wants that, by 2030, at least 30 million zero-emission cars to be in operation on European roads. By 2050, nearly all cars, vans, buses as well as new heavy-duty vehicles will be zero-emission.
The price problem
However, such a plan seems easier said than done taking into account that electric, less-polluting cars are still very expensive for average European citizens, although car constructors have decreased prices. According to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of respondents said EVs are too expensive compared to traditional fuel types. 49 per cent of them said thatr they would switch to EVs if they became cheaper. Most consumers cannot afford to buy an electric today. Continuous public commitment in the form of tax and purchase incentives is therefore needed, at least for a few more years until battery prices have further decreased. Across the EU, 24 Member States offer incentives for electrically chargeable vehicles. Besides, governments could for instance guarantee zero-interest rate loans for the purchase of electric cars. This could really help lower-income consumers who would still not be able to purchase a new car despite generous purchase incentives.