euro mempercepat kendaraan berenergi alternatif : 070510


EU plans to boost use of electric cars
By Joshua Chaffin in Brussels and John Reed in London
Published: April 28 2010 23:15 | Last updated: April 28 2010 23:15
Europe began paving the way for the roll-out of electric cars with the publication on Wednesday of a strategy document from the European Commission that aims to help the region become a leader in the burgeoning industry.

The plan includes a push for a standardised charger for cars, an important step towards making them viable, to be in place by next year.

The accelerated timetable coincides with the arrival of a slew of new electric models in the next 12 months as automakers try to transform the vehicles from auto show curiosities into mass-market products.

Antonio Tajani, the industry commissioner, argued that setting common standards were vital for Europe to achieve that goal, and warned that US and Asian competitors were already forging ahead with their own electric vehicle programmes.

“Without strong standardisation work, I think it will be difficult to develop a market for electric cars,” Mr Tajani said, explaining that drivers needed to be confident they could recharge throughout Europe.

The Commission also plans to propose common safety standards for electric cars this year. Those measures are part of a broader strategy on clean and energy efficient vehicles that includes measures to promote vehicles powered by hydrogen and other alternative fuels.

Mr Tajani said he was neutral as to which technology he preferred, but acknowledged that a consensus appeared to be forming in most member states that electric vehicles were the best long-term way for the industry to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.

Carmakers welcomed the announcement. “It’s encouraging that the Commission sees that electric vehicle technology is mature and ready for the market,” said Simon Sproule, a spokesman for Nissan/Renault, the French and Japanese allied carmakers, which are developing eight electric models by 2014 – the most of any automaking group.

Rival Mitsubishi is already selling its electric i-MiEV in Europe, and PSA Peugeot Citroen plans to launch two cars based on the Japanese carmaker’s model under the French group’s respective Peugeot and Citroen brands later this year.

Meanwhile, General Motors plans to begin selling its Opel/ Vauxhall Ampera electric model on the continent in late 2011 and in the UK from early 2012 alongside its U.S.-built counterpart, the Chevrolet Volt.

The Commission paper acknowledges that traditional internal combustion engines will dominate the market for years to come. In order to supplant them, makers of electric cars will have to find ways to reduce prices, improve range and deploy a network of charging stations – challenges that will be expensive and technically difficult.

Environmental groups have also warned that the benefits from electric cars could prove illusory if much of their power is derived from coal and other highly-polluting sources of electricity.

“On electric cars, the Commission hasn’t addressed two of the most critical issues, namely ensuring that the extra electricity needed will boost renewable sources and the need for smart meters in every vehicle to keep track of consumption and the carbon intensity of electricity,” Jos Dings, director of Transport & Environment, said in a statement. “These two issues will be critical to ensuring that electric cars actually reduce emissions.”

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