- Investigate the importance of Electric Vehicles to EU and National Energy Consumption.
Although the energy efficiency in the transport sector is increasing, mostly because of the measures taken by the automobile companies to design new cars that consume less oil and gas, and although because of this the CO2 emissions of new cars are reduced compared to the CO2 emissions of older automobiles (Enerdata iv), the energy consumption in Europe and European countries continues to be an increasing concern, considering the fact that despite the economic crisis the citizens’ transportation with personal cars has not decreases, as expected, continuing to pollute the environment and to maintain high EU and national energy consumption.
In this context, Electric Vehicles represent a viable and efficient solution for reducing the energy consumption, which in the same time implies reducing the CO2 emissions, because Electric Vehicles do not emit any tailpipe CO2 or other pollutants as NOx, NMHC or PM (“Clean Transport, Urban Transport” 2), hence an environmental sustainable measure.
Although it currently implies considerable costs to own an Electric Vehicle, Electric Vehicle expert consider that EV are the cars of the future, as they produce most energy efficiency and in time, the current high costs of production and of maintaining such a vehicle will be amortized, as this type of technology is based on wind and sun energy (Green eMotion). In Ireland, this aspect would be a benefit, as the users of EV could optimize the power of wind and ocean for recharging the batteries with which EV run (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland).
This aspect is also significant when comparing the Electric Vehicle with the current vehicles that run on biofuel energy, which require for increased budgets for alimentation, as the price of oil and gas continues to increase. The development of Electric Vehicle would represent the discouragement of the oil and gas big corporations that currently hold the power of energy, manipulating peoples’ increasing energy needs.
Electric Vehicles would contribute to EU’s goal of reaching its targets of CO2 emission reduction. As part of the European Economic Recovery Plan, there was presented the framework of Green Car Initiative (“Clean Transport Urban Transport” 4) and its benefits in reducing the biofuel energy consumption. Electric Vehicles would contribute to reducing the fuels emissions and the operating costs of the National Energy Consumption (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland 2)
While in general the EU’s citizens transportation with personal cars did not decreased as a result of the financial crisis, the freight traffic decreased drastically in 2009 (by 12%) and this implicitly affected the economy of EU countries. In this situation, Electric Vehicles would be highly required for rebalancing Europe’s economy and for recovering the losses in freight transportation, by generating an additional source for transportation. As an alternative source for transportation needs, the Electric Vehicles could actually make a significant shift on the energy sector, creating a competition market, where the oil and gas companies would have to adjust the prices to the substitute products (the Electric Vehicle, in this case). This would stimulate the freight transportation and would open a competitive environment between oil and gas on one side and electricity on the other side, having at stake consumers’ preference or affordability for using one of these sources for their or their goods’ transportation.
In addition to reducing the energy consumption, EV would also influence the citizens’ quality of life, improving the environmental performance of personal mobility and decreasing the future costs of the users (European Commission, JRC News Release 1).
- Interpret how EVs might operationally achieve national policy using appropriate measures and evaluations
In order for Electric Vehicles to achieve national policy sustainability, there must be implemented several technological developments, and in the same time there must be applied a research based approach that would permit the on road operations of EVs in optimum conditions.
As such, Ireland’s Government is committed to sustain the EV, by setting a policy that states that there must be 10% of all vehicles on roads (representing around 230.000 vehicles) powered by electricity by 2020, but for this plan to be met there are included several infrastructure standards: creating 2000 domestic charge points, installing 1.500 public access and town charge points, and other 30 inter urban fast charging points at no more than 60 km distance from one another (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland).
At European Union level, it is considered that the most viable solution for developing an Electric Vehicle policy would be by adapting the EU’s infrastructure to the needs of EVs and the approach taken by the EU members was to design a standardizes infrastructure, for meeting not only the needs of the national energy reduction, but of the entire EU energy reduction, and this is why it was considered that EV policy would represent an ecological opportunity for the entire Europe, for which sustainable effort of all EU countries would be required (“The Electric Car” 2-5).Technological advancement are still required in order to develop a EV policy and research and development is the key for reaching this, but funds are required for this purpose, which will make EVs more accessible to a larger number of consumers, increasing the use of EV, proportionally with the population density.
Using the renewable energy sources like sun and wind and incorporating them into developing the technology required for EV (such as battery recharge), which represents alternative source of energy and which is an increased energy consumption method, reaching 20% of EU energy consumption in 2009 (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland 1; Kneeshaw 9).
Another significant initiative of national governments for increasing the accessibility of electric cars and for developing EV policy is the reduction of the range anxiety of the drivers (the fear of not reaching the destination because of the lack of sufficient power), investing in the infrastructure needed for Electric Vehicles and also in new Electric Vehicles that would meet various customer needs and would contribute, due to their feasibility, to applying a national EV policy (European Commission, JRC News Release 1).
The current trends indicate that the manufacturers of EVs invest more and more consideration in contributing through their improved technological performances to achieving EV policy. As such, there are designed Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrid EV, Battery Electric Vehicles, as well as charging infrastructure, available for EV drivers at their homes, at work or in public places (“Electric Vehicles in Europe” 1).
Therefore, by comprehensively and consistently evaluating the market, the customers and potential customers of EVs’ needs, opinions and attitudes regarding the use of Electric Vehicles, manufacturers and policy makers could work together for bringing EV closer to the point of achieving an operational policy. Adapting the roads (creating the corresponding infrastructure for the EV, testing the EVs in various conditions for defining the technical needs and safety measures and requirements), the technology (inserting the renewable energy in the EV technology) and the drivers of EVs to the technical requirements of the EVs (teaching them how to aliment, how to use the EV, etc.) would also lead to coming closer to achieving an EV policy.
Clean Transport, Urban Transport. Ec.europa. Accessed on 7 October 2013, retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/urban/vehicles/road/electric_en.htm. N.d. Web.
Electric Vehicles in Europe. Navigant. Accessed on 7 October 2013, retrieved from http://www.navigantresearch.com/research/electric-vehicles-in-europe. 2013. Web.
Enerdata. Energy Efficiency Trends in the Transport Sector in the EU. Agence de l’Environment et de la Maitrise de l’Energie. 2012. Print.
European Commission/JRC News Release. A Look at the EU’s Research on Electric Cars. Brussels, European Commission. 2013. Print.
Green eMotion. Measuring Climate Change. Accessed on 7 October 2013, retrieved from http://www.greenemotion-project.eu/news/archive/measuring-the-climate-impact-on-electric-cars.php. N.d. Web.
Knewwshaw, Sally. Urbact II Network. Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe. 2010. Print.
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. A Guide to Electric Vehicles. Dublin, SEAI. N.d. Print.
The Electric Car: Europe Commits to a Common Policy. Sustainable Mobility. Accessed on 7 October 2013, retrieved from http://www.sustainable-mobility.org/getting-around-today/electric-and-hybrid-cars/the-electric-car-europe-commits-to-a-common-policy.html. 2010. Web.