Apr 29, 2020

Electric vehicles: crucial for a post-coronavirus clean and sustainable energy transition?

Transport&Environment shows in a recent report that electric vehicles (EVs) in Europe emit on average nearly 3 times less CO2 than equivalent conventional cars.

This assessment is based on a online tool, published alongside the report, that compares thoroughly the life-cycle performance of these different vehicles. Going into more details, no matter what the vehicle characteristics or the carbon intensity of a country’s electricity grid are, EVs always outperform conventional cars. Bearing in mind that EVs will get even cleaner in the future as economies further decarbonise, the potential for electric cars to reduce CO2 emissions is indisputable.

This fits nicely with the appeal made by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and 17 European climate and environment ministers calling for the European Green Deal to be central to a resilient recovery after COVID-19. With all the opportunities brought by electrification, not only in terms of CO2 emissions but also of reindustrialisation in Europe, EVs could very well play a major role.

Looking at sales numbers, we see that consumers themselves drive the EVs penetration at an accelerated pace despite COVID-19 situation. In March 2020, EV shares reached almost 9% ( 4.8% fully electric/BEV) in Germany, Europe’s largest automobile market. It is still too early to assess the long-term impact of the pandemic crisis on the EV market. But such figures bring some positive evidence that consumers are willing to make the switch.

In line with this, we notice that car manufacturers gradually reopen their factories in Europe. As an example,  the VW Group has announced their production facilities have already re-started production in Germany, starting with the ID.3 electric cars. They also plan to re-start in the USA on May 3rd. This is of primary importance to meet the growing demand for environmentally sound means of transportation.

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