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Europe: Finding EU-wide rules for electric cars

ELECTRIC CARS, which seemed to have dropped somewhat off our collective radars recently, were back on the Irish agenda last week with the arrival of the Fully Charged Conference. The event was part of the European Green eMotion project.

What’s Green eMotion? It’s a pan-European organisation, established by the European Commission in Brussels, to try and untie the knot of differing electric car standards and incentives across the EU. With different countries using different plugs, charge points and purchasing incentives, surely, goes the train of thought, it would be better if we could all have one big target to aim at.

Heike Barlag of Siemens (experts in electrical systems and just check out the Ardnacrusha dam if you don’t believe us) is heading up Green eMotion, and with her daunting task described as “developing a user-friendly framework for the deployment of electric cars” we spoke to her in Dublin to find out just how far away we are from widespread acceptance and usage of electric cars.

“The clear idea of the European Commission to set up Green eMotion was to define the framework for electro-mobility. The main purpose is that we agree in Europe how to ‘do’ electro-mobility,” said Barlag. Which seemed a bit odd. After all, with electric cars having been available to buy for some time now, isn’t it a bit late in the day to be trying to decide how best to encourage people to buy them?

“I don’t think so, because before you can agree on things first you have to test them. There were a lot of research projects, a lot of testing programmes, how electric vehicles could work, what the interfaces should be, and how the whole structure should be. We had different approaches, and now we can decide which is the best one and we can fix that for Europe. Within Green eMotion we have several topics, for example the policy and regulation, such as different ideas of how you can promote electric vehicles; tax incentives, use of fast and bus lanes, or very popularly was an attractive parking space for an EV .


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