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First Ever Global Electric Vehicle Outlook Released At Clean Energy Ministerial In New Delhi

Energy ministers from 23 of the world’s leading economies met to discuss challenges and solutions around advancing clean energy technologies at the 5th Clean Energy Ministerial, or CEM, in New Delhi, India from April 16 -18. The CEM, launched in 2010, brings together governments representing 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of global clean energy investment with the goal of accelerating the adoption of clean energy technologies.

This week in Delhi governments and the private sector discussed smart policies and technical solutions to increase low-carbon energy, expand the reach of energy, and advance energy efficiency building on 13 CEM initiatives to achieve these goals.

Analyses of clean energy trends by International Energy Agency and Bloomberg New Energy Finance revealed the promise of clean energy and the challenges ahead. Despite investments in clean energy, an increase in global energy demand by 46 percent between 1990 and 2010 has translated to a global energy supply that is as carbon intensive today as it was in 1990, according to IEA. There was an 11 percent slowdown in renewable capacity investment in 2012 and energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) has declined significantly. IEA presented opportunities for grasping low-carbon trajectories, such as energy efficiency and the adoption low carbon transport policies that are both largely untapped on a global scale.

The first ever Global EV Outlook by the IEA was also released at the CEM showing promising progress on the development of electric vehicles. Between 2011 and 2012, EV passenger car sales more than doubled to more than 180,000 vehicles today. EVs, however, only represent 0.02 percent of total passenger car supply, indicating a need for further international cooperation to advance clean energy vehicles.

The Electric Vehicles Initiative that includes 15 member governments has a goal of global deployment of at least 20 million passenger car EVs by 2020.

During a CEM public-private roundtable on accelerating the global adoption of clean vehicles chaired by John D. Podesta, chair of the Center for American Progress, governments and business leaders shared knowledge about national and industry efforts and lessons learned. Energy ministers and representatives from the government and private sector talked about the case for accelerating the adoption of clean energy vehicles to protect to reduce dependence on oil, reduce pollution and shield economies from fluctuations in the price of oil. They shared similar experiences about barriers to developing infrastructure for clean energy vehicles and the lack of consumer demand, and the role of policies that have already proven effective to address these challenges.

For instance, governments have made progress in lowering the costs of vehicles electrification through investments in RD&D totaling USD 8.7 billion since 2008, which has helped to reduce battery development costs –the most expensive part of the cars– by more than 50 percent over the last five years. In addition there are other incentives which have proven effective such as consumer incentives and access to restricted highway lanes.

The Government of India announced its joining of the EVI at the CEM. The country is aiming to be a leader in EV sales through its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 with a mission is to yield sales of 6-7 million EVs by 2020. The country is already the world’s 6th largest vehicle manufacturer and the auto industry contributes 22 percent to the country’s manufacturing GDP. The goals for India’s leadership on EVs is twofold: to gain fuel security and also increase the share of manufacturing in the overall economy to 25% by 2022.

Though market penetration of clean vehicles has increased as a result of strong government support in participating countries of the EVI, consumer demand remains a significant challenge. Mayor Gregory A. Ballard of the City of Indianapolis, Indiana who was participating in the EVI roundtable, said “consumer acceptance is a huge barrier. People don’t know that we can move in this direction.” On December 12, 2012 Mayor Ballard signed an executive order converting Indianapolis’ non-police municipal fleet to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2025, making it the first large city in the US to do so.
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