EU Council Adopt Directive for the Deployment of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure

Yesterday the Council adopted a Directive for the Deployment of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure, which aims at ensuring the build-up of an infrastructure for alternative fuels and the implementation of common technical specifications in the Union as well as appropriate consumer information that inter alia allow to compare prices with those of conventional fuel prices. Member States must set and make public their targets and present their national policy frameworks by end-2016. Parliament had already approved the Directive in April 2014.

By improving the infrastructure for alternative fuels, in particular the number of refuelling and recharging points, and setting common standards for their design and use (e.g. a common recharging plug), the Directive wants to remove one of the three main barriers for the use of alternative fuels, thus reducing oil dependance in the transport sector in the long-run.

The Commission’s press release highlights the following aspects for the various alternative fuels:

Electricity: The directive requires Member States to set targets for recharging points accessible to the public, to be built by 2020, to ensure that electric vehicles can circulate at least in urban and suburban agglomerations. Targets should ideally foresee a minimum of one recharging point per ten electric vehicles. Moreover, the directive makes it mandatory to use a common plug all across the EU, which will allow EU-wide mobility.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG): Natural gas/bio-methane vehicles offer today a well-developed technology, with performances and cost equivalent to petrol or diesel units and with clean exhaust emissions. Natural gas use in trucks and ships can substitute diesel. For the development of LNG for road transport, Member States have to ensure a sufficient number of publicly accessible refuelling points, with common standards, on the TEN-T core network (see IP/13/948), ideally every 400 km, to be built by end-2025. The directive also requires a minimum coverage to ensure accessibility of LNG in main maritime and inland ports.

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG): The directive requires Member States to ensure a sufficient number of publicly accessible refuelling points, with common standards, to allow the circulation of CNG vehicles, both in urban and sub-urban areas as well as on the TEN-T core network, ideally every 150 km, to be built by end-2025.

Hydrogen: The directive aims at ensuring a sufficient number of publicly accessible refuelling points, with common standards, in the Member States who opt for hydrogen infrastructure, to be built by end-2025.”

Once the Member States have submitted their national policy frameworks, the Commission will assess and report on them to ensure coherence at Union level.

According to Article 4 no. 1 in connection with Annex II, Germany has to ensure that at least 1,503 recharging points for electric vehicles are put into place by 31 December 2020, with 150 being publicly accessible. A survey by the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW) showed that in mid-2013 approximately 4,400 charging points, at 2,033 charging stations, were publicly accessible. At the time 10,401 electric cars were registered in Germany. On 1 January 12,156 electric cars were registered in Germany, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority.

Source: Council; European Commission, press release, “Clean transport, Urban transport” webpage

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