The European Parliament has approved rules forcing the establishment of more electric vehicle recharging points and alternative fuel stations on the continent.
In a vote on 15 April, it agreed to implement a new directive that will oblige member states to submit minimum proposed levels of refuelling and recharging stations, with EU-wide standards including the use of common plugs for electric vehicles and standardised refuelling equipment for hydrogen and natural gas.
Under EC proposals, just under 800,000 publicly accessible electric vehicle recharging points, all using a common plug, will need to be established before 2020 – including more than 120,000 in the UK. EC figures show there were just 11,749 points across the Union in 2011, including 703 in the UK.
The EC also wants LNG refuelling stations to be installed every 400km along the roads of the Trans European Core Network, and for CNG refuelling points to be available Europe-wide at maximum distances of 150km by 2020.
EC vice president Siim Kallas said: “This is a milestone in the roll-out of clean fuels in Europe. 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 DfT told MT this time last year that it supported the EU’s efforts to harmonise technical standards for alternative fuels but that it was “not convinced that setting targets for the deployment of technology-specific infrastructure is the most effective way of building consumer confidence in new technology”.