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New EU regulations to boost alternative fuels for vehicles coming into force

Recharging an electric vehicleBrussels, 26/09/2014. New EU regulations are coming into force on 29th September 2014 to boost the viability of alternative fuels for vehicles across Europe. EU member states will require national action plans to show how they are building refuelling and recharging points (electricity, natural gas and hydrogen) for green vehicles across the country.

The regulations set binding targets for the build-up of a recharging/refuelling infrastructure, to include common technical specifications. For electric vehicles in the UK for example, the target infrastructure is a minimum of 1,221,000 charging points, with 122,000 being available to the public. For Germany, the comparable figures are 1,503,000 charging points, with 150,000 publicly accessible. Refuelling and recharging stations will have to conform to European standards, including a standard plug for recharging electric vehicles, in order to ensure Europe-wide compatibility.

hydrogen-refuelling-station-norway1At present transport in Europe is 94 % dependent on oil, 84 % of it being imported, with a bill of up to 1 billion euro per day (source: European Commission) and Hydrogen refuelling statio in Norwayincreasing costs to the environment. Road transport is responsible for around 20% of greenhouse-gas emissions across the EU, and the Commission is focusing on a 6% reduction of this figure by 2020.

Building a Europe-wide infrastructure for recharging or refuelling greener vehicles is seen as fundamentally necessary to lay the foundations for successful market uptake in this sector. The Commission believes that while a certain level of public spending is inevitable, member states can make use of a variety of additional measures to encourage uptake, for example in parking-lot permits, building regulations, certification of the environmental performance of businesses, etc.