If all European motorists switched to electric cars it would barely put a dent in the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, an industry expert warned this week.
Roberto Vavassori, president at CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, said CO2 outputs would fall by just 0.4 per cent if all vehicles in Europe were replaced with pure electric models overnight.
The suggestion will do little to appease motorists in some of the continent’s major cities, who face new rules that include driving restrictions and additional costs to use their older petrol and diesel cars – such as London’s recently introduced Ultra Low Emissions Zone.
Little impact: Roberto Vavassori, President at CLEPA, said the impact of every European motorist switching to electric cars overnight would be a nominal 0.4% decrease in global CO2 emissions
Registration figures show that there are almost 300 million vehicles on European roads to date.
Of these just 800,000 are fully electric.
While that figure is rising each year, it means that zero-emissions cars make up just 0.27 per cent of the current market.
Yet while people might expect there to be a substantial reduction in pollution if all 300 million European vehicles were electric, it would have a nominal impact on world’s carbon footprint.
Vavassori told the Financial Times Future of the Car summit on Tuesday: ‘Europe is responsible for 10 per cent of worldwide CO2 emissions, while China, USA and India represent 66 per cent.
‘So we know that seven per cent [of global CO2 emissions] is the CO2 emissions of light vehicles if by chance we electrify all of Europe overnight we will save 0.7 per cent of CO2 emitted globally every year.’
However, Vavassori said the reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity at the moment would see the emission-reducing effects dwindle further, down to 0.4 per cent.
Europe is responsible for 10 per cent of worldwide CO2 emissions, while China, USA and India account for two thirds between them
The Ultra Low Emissions Zone was introduced in London in April and will be expanded in 2021
Motorists in major cities, such as Hamburg, Paris and London, are already incurring higher ownership costs and restricted car use due to low emissions zones designed to reduce vehicle pollution.
That said, London’s ULEZ – introduced last month and due to be expanded in 2021 – has been introduced to reduce harmful NOx emissions that are believed to be at the root of millions of premature deaths each year, rather than CO2.
Transportation, the generation of electricity and industry are the three largest contributors to global CO2 emissions, research shows.
UK registrations of electric cars not on par with Europe
Demand for electric cars in the UK is far behind that in the rest of Europe, according to market insiders.
In a report published by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) last week, it said the UK is severely lagging behind other EU nations when it comes to uptake of plug-in cars.
Britons bought a total of 15,510 fully electric cars last year, which was a 13.8 per cent increase in registrations in 2017.
That’s significantly slower than the average growth across the continent, which was 48.2 per cent, rising to 53.2 per cent for EU member states.
Half as many electric cars are sold in the UK compared to France and Germany. Three times as many EVs are purchased in Norway than in the UK
To put the differences into perspective, drivers in France and Germany bought twice as many plug-in vehicles in 2017, acquiring 31,095 and 36,216 electric cars respectively.
VW received 15,000 reservation requests for new electric car within a week
Volkswagen confirmed it has received more than 15,000 reservation requests from around Europe for the all-electric ID.3 after order books opened just a week ago.
The launch version became available for pre-order in the UK on 8 May 2019, requiring a pre-booking fee of £750.
The German car maker said it had taken more than 10,000 deposits in the first 24 hours of being available.
Norway leads the way with a staggering total of 46,143 being purchased, despite the country having a much smaller population.
One of the reasons for this lack of demand in the UK – according to the report and recent comments by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – is the lack of government grants to help with the purchase of expensive new EVs.
Last year the UK Government reduced the Plug-in Car Grant to help people buy fully electric cars from £4,500 to £3,500 and removed incentives for plug-in hybrids entirely.
Another stumbling block was the UK’s lack of charging infrastructure to cope with an increased network of plug-in vehicles.
ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert, said: ‘Besides investing in charging infrastructure, governments across the EU need to put in place meaningful and sustainable incentives in order to encourage more consumers to make the switch to electric.’
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