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EU plans common plug for electric vehicle charging

MEPs agree on plans to increase uptake of alternative fuel vehicles across continent

The European Parliament has given final approval for measures aimed at increasing the infrastructure in place for low emission vehicles across the continent.

Among the measures agreed upon by MEPs last week (April 15) were plans to put in place common standards for alternative refuelling points – including a common plug for recharging electric vehicles.

Plans have also been agreed for a minimum level of charging infrastructure be put in place by Member States

Plans have also been agreed for a minimum level of charging infrastructure be put in place by Member States

According to the European Parliament, efforts to incentivise the uptake of alternative fuel vehicles have been ‘un-coordinated and insufficient’ and most policy initiatives have so far mostly addressed the actual fuels and vehicles without considering how the fuels are distributed.

The main measures agreed include minimum levels of infrastructure across the EU, with a requirement on Member States to submit to the Commission national plans for minimum levels of infrastructure – refuelling and recharging stations – for alternative fuels such as electricity, hydrogen and natural gas. The targets and objectives will be published by the Commission.

Standards

Elsewhere it also hopes to introduce common standards for the development of these fuels. The agreement requires the use of common plugs for electric vehicles and standardised refuelling equipment for hydrogen and natural gas as well as the development of future standards for wireless recharging points, battery swapping technology and standardised plugs for buses and motorcycles.

It is hoped that these measures will help ‘end the uncertainty’ that has been holding back businesses and consumers from adopting the technology.

Commenting on the measures, European Commission vice-president for transport Siim Kallas, said: “This is a major innovation and a milestone in the roll-out of clean fuels in Europe. These new rules are a direct response to calls from industry, investors, consumers and national authorities for a clear framework to set the future direction for clean fuels in Europe, to end uncertainty and allow investments to follow.

“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.”

Following the vote by the European Parliament, the new rules should be formally adopted by Council later this year.

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