Electric cars and prospects for the European motor industry
In response to a written question from the European Parliament on the subject of electric cars and where they fit into studies being conducted by the Commission on the future of the European motor industry, Commissioner Bangemann said that electric cars presented strong environmental advantages and are likely to be developed in future. The technology to allow a significantly large market in electric vehicles is a competitive factor for the Community car industry. However, this technology requires considerable and sustained technological research. For this reason, the Commission has given particular prominence to electrical vehicles and their components in its proposal for the Fourth Framework Programme. It is also considering the possibility of other support measures. Current R&D is directed towards three options: battery-driven, fuel-cell driven and hybrid electric vehicles. In order to bring about a breakthrough for electric vehicles, an integrated approach is needed which includes R&D and related to infrastructure and standardization. To this end, a number of projects are under way which aim at battery testing and standardization of test methods, involving eight car manufacturers, case studies for the introduction of electric vehicles in urban areas, and collaboration concerning electric vehicle fleets in Europe.