What's the Latest Development?
Last week, government officials discussing the European Union's €8 billion "Clean Power for Transport" program announced that one of its goals is to "[make] electric charging stations nearly as common as gas stations" by increasing their number to 500,000 by 2020. According to a press release, just under 12,000 charging stations exist across the continent as of 2011. In addition, stations would be required to conform to a single continent-wide plug standard, which would make it much easier for electric vehicles (EVs) to travel between member states that currently have competing standards.
What's the Big Idea?
Individual countries, such as Germany and France, already have ambitious goals for putting more EVs and hybrids on the road, and the European Automobile Manufacturers Association estimates that these vehicles could comprise 2-8 percent of the total by 2025. Critics of the plan say adding more charging stations, while good, isn't necessarily the best path towards increased use of EVs. Consultant Ben Lane says, "[T]he main barrier to electric vehicles isn’t recharging points, it’s the vehicle price...Registration incentives for electric vehicles, such as currently operate in France, is one of the most effective ways to shift the market from conventional to electric drive trains."
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