European Parliament vote "milestone" in the roll out of clean fuels for transport

On 15 April this year, the European parliament gave its final approval to new EU rules to ensure the build up of alternative refuelling points across Europe with common standards for their design and use, including a common plug for recharging electric vehicles.

The three main barriers that are holding back clean fuel are as follows;

·                     The high cost of vehicles

·                     A low level of consumer acceptance

·                     The lack of recharging and refuelling stations

Member states will have to provide a minimum infrastructure for alternative fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas.

EC Vice President, Siim Kallas said:

“This is a major innovation and a milestone in the roll-out of clean fuels in Europe. These new rules are a direct response to calls from industry, investors, consumers and national authorities for a clear framework to set the future direction for clean fuels in Europe, to end uncertainty and allow investments to follow. This vote sends a clear signal that Europe is putting clean fuels at the heart of its transport policy, and the drive to develop a transport system fit for the 21st century".

The main measures agreed are:

1. Minimum levels of infrastructure across the EU: A requirement on Member States to submit to the Commission national plans for minimum levels of infrastructure- refuelling and recharging stations- for alternative fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas.

2. Eu wide standards for the infrastructure: This will end any uncertainty that has been holding any businesses back or any consumers. The agreement requires the use of common plugs for electric vehicles and standardised refuelling equipment for hydrogen and natural gas as well as the development of future standards for wireless charging points.

3. Clear consumer information to facilitate use: This includes the recharging and refuelling stations themselves as well as comparison prices for the different clean and conventional fuels based on a methodology that is to be developed by the commission.