Sanda Tuzlic, Managing Director, Energy Transition Services at Accenture, discusses the importance of sustainable mobility for reaching the EU’s Green Deal goals, key challenges for adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) - and how cross-industry collaboration can help solve some of those challenges.
Why is transport electrification so important to reach Green Deal targets?
The Green Deal aims to cut emissions in the EU by 55% by 2030 and achieve full climate neutrality by 2050. That’s going to require not just speed, but scale - on a massive level. After all, we’re talking about a net-zero economy.
We have to remember that transportation is responsible for nearly 30% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. An astounding 72% of that comes from road transportation. Electrifying passenger cars and fleets will be mission-critical to deliver on Green Deal targets. The EU aims to have at least 30 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.
Are we seeing any momentum for eMobility?
Yes, we’re seeing strong momentum. According to the IEA, new EV registrations in Europe more than doubled to 1.4 million in 2020. And the European market for EVs is exploding. Just look at Norway, where EVs currently have a market share of 81.5% of new car sales. Other countries like Germany are catching up. EVs there have a market share of 21.6%
Also, the automotive industry has made commitments to eliminate internal combustion engines from their fleets. Audi, for example, announced they’ve stopped developing new combustion engines, and they’ll have 20 electric models on the road within 5 years.1 Also, Volvo plans to be a fully electric car company by 2030, starting with 50% of their fleet by 2025.2 And BMW expects that 50% of its global sales will be EVs by 2030.3
Meanwhile, stringent CO2 emissions targets have driven European governments and automotive players to commit €60 billion investments in EVs and batteries. In the just-published ‘Fit for 55’ package the Commission is proposing that after 2035, all new cars be locally emission-free.
What are the key challenges for adopting EVs at scale?
Really, it boils down to 5 major challenges. First, education and communication—essentially steering combustion engine drivers toward an EV. That’s going to take some doing. Many have what we call “range anxiety” - how far can I go on this charge?
But we also need to make EVs affordable for the mass market. Almost 40% of European citizens indicate cost as the key reason for not switching to electric mobility.
Third, we have a fragmented customer experience - especially for charging on the go. People say, “I can hardly find a charging point and when I finally do, I need to navigate dozens of apps.” Compounding this issue is that 1 in 6 charging sessions go wrong, a problem that virtually never happens at traditional fuel stations. As EV uptake moves past forgiving early adopters, the urgency of delivering a seamless experience grows.
But for this to happen, we need to solve the fourth challenge - interoperability of charging infrastructure. This is a must so EV drivers can charge anytime, anywhere. Fortunately, we’re seeing progress there, such as the Plug & Charge standard.
Finally, we need to boost the number of public charging points from 250k in 2020 to 3 million by 2030. But making this happen will require close collaboration among all involved sectors (OEMs, utilities, charging infrastructure developers, installation companies, to name a few) with government leadership to solve for permit bottlenecks.
So, what do we need to address these adoption challenges?
In the end, transport electrification is an ecosystem play. No company has the scale, expertise or customer base to succeed alone. Different players must work together to achieve an integrated customer experience and address the crucial EV adoption challenges. And, again, we’re seeing some progress here. Look at the strategic alliance between Iberdrola, Volkswagen Group and Seat to accelerate electrification in Spain.4
Can you give us more examples of cross-industry collaboration?
Sure. Free2Move eSolutions is one. It’s a joint venture between Stellantis and Engie EPS to design, manufacture and supply eMobility products and services, starting in Italy.
Also, the Renault Group, Envision and Verkor recently signed an agreement to set up a giga-factory that will manufacture batteries in France.5
These partnerships demonstrate the ecosystem is on the right track to cooperate in the interest of the EV driver - and the success of energy transition.
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