Europe Looks at Accelerating Clean Energy Transition

- November 25th, 2019

Proposals to speed the uptake of battery technology range from setting examples, to marketing, to incentives, to urban low-emissions zones.

The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) has released a white paper on ways to accelerate the transition towards clean energy and the uptake of battery technology.

The “Intelligence Mobility for Energy Transition lists ways that authorities can increase renewable energy generation, electric vehicle (EV) ownership and the proliferation of EV infrastructure in European countries. It was released during the Smart Cities Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The paper is led by Japanese carmaker Nissan (OTC Pink:NSANF,TSE:7201), with Friederike Kienitz of Nissan Europe saying, “While Nissan brought mass battery technology to Europe when it pioneered the Nissan Leaf 10 years ago, it is clear from this paper that this is about more than just Nissan or electric vehicles.”

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Kienitz added that there is much work to be done if Europe is to achieve its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 and this white paper sets out how to get there at the national, regional and municipal level.

The changes proposed by the paper range from lighter touch policy ideas like public authorities “leading by example” and procuring more electric vehicles to their fleets to carrot policies like incentives bound to vehicles and taxes and stick policies like low-emissions zones within urban areas “to drive behavioural change” in transport options.

Other ideas listed are the simplification of procedures for smart charger installation, mandatory or incentivized installation of renewable and energy efficiency technologies in new commercial buildings and marketing approaches such as the promotion of the financial benefits of owning an electric vehicle or having solar panels or energy storage at home.

Kienitz said that the paper was motivated by a need for a fundamental rethink on how mobility and energy policies are designed.

Electric vehicle uptake remains a hot button issue globally despite the proliferation of EV technology and more car makers adopting alternative-energy vehicles.

In Europe, according to a study by JATO Dynamics, the price of electric vehicles remains double the price of other vehicles on the market even with more competition among EV options. The story is similar around the world except in China, where JATO’s global automotive analyst Felipe Munoz notes that EVs are designed, constructed and sold for and to domestic markets, so safety regulations are not as onerous.

Besides the price issue, carmakers such as Skoda and its parent company Volkswagen (OTC Pink:VLKAF,FWB:VOW) face battery supply constraints that are limiting production runs, dampening uptake. At the same time, once-leader in the green car technology space Toyota (NYSE:TM) is now pushing back on electric vehicles entirely, instead opining that hydrogen technology is the way to go.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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