Groundbreaking regulations for the entire European transport market are getting closer to entering into force. The EU Council voted on Tuesday to reduce CO2 emissions of cars and vans by 100% by 2035, and members of the European Parliament and the Swedish Council Presidency reached an agreement on a regulation that will replace the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive. This means, among others, that in less than 13 years we will not buy a new car with a combustion engine (except for e-fuel vehicles), and in less than 4 years, charging points with a capacity of at least 400 kW will have to be deployed every 60 km of the TEN-T network. What will be the consequences of introducing new regulations for the development of electromobility in Poland?
Opinion: Aleksander Rajch, External Relations Director, PSPA
The final vote of the EU Council regarding the reduction of CO2 emissions of new passenger cars and vans by 100% from 2035 is an undoubted success and confirmation of the continuation of the chosen direction on the road to climate neutrality of a united Europe. At the same time, it is the final stage of the legislative process, which was initiated by the European Commission in July 2021 as part of the “Fit for 55” package. The decisions taken mean that in less than 13 years in all Member States, including Poland, mostly battery-electric (BEV) or hydrogen (FCEV) cars will be able to leave showrooms. The only exception may be vehicles powered by e-fuels, which will be recognized as CO2-neutral at the request of Germany. However, taking into account the projected level of development of this technology, it can be assumed that, similarly to today, also in 2035 synthetic fuels will remain a market niche.
Despite the turmoil on the final stretch, 23 countries ultimately voted for the adopted changes, including Germany, which had previously initiated opposition to the new regulations. 3 countries abstained from voting (Italy, Bulgaria and Romania). Poland, as the only country not only in the CEE region, but also in the entire European Union, has spoken out against the changes. The opposition of our government is difficult to assess positively for at least several reasons. First of all, it was unnecessary – it did not (because it could not) affect the final result of the vote and had a purely symbolic meaning. Secondly, it put our country in opposition to the rest of Europe. And thirdly – it is a disturbing signal of the desire to delay changes that are not only inevitable, but also an opportunity for Poland’s economic development, strengthening the position of Polish companies in the supply chain of the automotive sector and a significant reduction in emissions from the transport sector.
After today’s vote, the ban on registration of internal combustion cars will become a fact. At the procedural stage, this is practically a closed chapter. The moment has come to start the next, key stage of creating optimal conditions for the development of electromobility in the European Union: the expansion of the charging station. It is high time for this, because on Tuesday other very important agreements were made: on 28 March, Members of the European Parliament and the Swedish Presidency of the Council reached a preliminary agreement on the draft AFIR – a regulation that will replace the Directive of 22 October 2014 on the development of alternative fuels infrastructure. This is another piece of legislation originally proposed as part of the “Fit for 55” package. As a regulation, it will be directly applicable in each Member State, without the need to implement it into national law.
The new regulations will impose specific requirements on each Member State regarding the expansion of the network of charging stations. They assume, among others the obligation to increase the total capacity of the infrastructure depending on the number of registered electric cars. The European Commission had previously proposed that there should be 1 kW of power per BEV, and 0.66 kW per plug-in hybrid. The concluded agreement assumes that these figures will be increased by 30%. In practice, this means that Member States will have to expand the charging infrastructure much faster than originally planned. Other proposals are equally ambitious. For example, from 2025 on the TEN-T core network, charging stations (for electric cars and vans) with a capacity of at least 400 kW (in both directions) must be built every 60 km maximum. Two years later, similar requirements will cover half of the TEN-T comprehensive network, where infrastructure with a capacity of at least 300 kW (in both directions) is to be installed every 60 km maximum. The aim of AFIR is also to support zero-emission heavy transport. Under the regulation, already in 2025 charging HUBs (for electric trucks) with a capacity of 1,400 kW will have to operate on 15% of the TEN-T network at a maximum distance of 120 km from each other. In 2027, the charging infrastructure (2,800 kW HUBs) is to cover 50% of the TEN-T network, and in 2030 (3,600 kW HUBs) – 100%, with