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EU proposes electric car ‘Plan B’

Dropping electric car sales around Europe has forced the EU adopt a new approach in order to reach their 2020 climate goals
If the European Parliament approves the electric car proposal, Denmark will have to build 5,000 electric car charging points by 2020 (File photo)

The European Union climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, wants her home country to provide 5,000 electric-car charging points by the year 2020 in order to reach stated climate goals.

Hedegaard, who served as climate minister from 2007 to 2009, said that if the 27 member states supply the charging points, electric car sales will increase.

“We can finally end the discussion about the chicken and the egg when it comes to whether the infrastructure needs to be present before the electric car market explodes,” Hedegaard wrote on the European Commission website. “It has to make sense to buy an electric car and it doesn’t if you can’t even drive halfway across the country without running out of charge.”

The automobile industry’s transition to the electric car in Europe has not gone as smoothly as EU legislators had hoped, with electric car sale numbers lagging seriously behind the 2020 goals set by the EU.

In Denmark, which is one of the better-equipped electric car nations per capita, there are only 280 charging points and electric car sales have plummeted drastically. As a result, Denmark recently downgraded expectations from 400,000 electric cars by 2020 to 200,000. The negative trend was further illustrated by the state-owned energy provider DONG’s recent decision to cease investment in the Better Place electric car providers.

But until now, political initiatives have focussed on the cars without giving much thought to the charging points, something that Hedegaard hopes will change.

“With our proposed binding goals for charging points, which have a common charge plug, electric cars will soon be hitting Europe’s roads. That’s a victory for the environment, business, consumers and employment,” Hedegaard said.
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