Links Across the Pond Strengthen on Green Shipping But Deteriorate on EV Subsidies: GMPB

Covered in this Green Mobility Policy Brief: Roll out of end-to-end decarbonised shipping routes, after pledge at COP27; Sweden’s new Trade Minister concerned over US electric car tax credit; EVs energise new car market but chargepoint rollout must accelerate; EU Commissioner for Transport speaks on the comparative costs of EV and conventional diesel or petrol vehicles.

Roll out of end-to-end decarbonised shipping routes, after pledge at COP27. The UK is to join Norway, the US and the Netherlands to roll out fully green maritime links. The decarbonised shipping routes will be introduced at the COP27 conference in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, this year. ‘Green shipping corridors’ are specific maritime routes which are fully decarbonised from end-to-end, ie. Creating green maritime routes relies on zero-emission energy or fuel, sustainable land-side infrastructure, and deploying zero-emission capable vessels. Furthermore, the UK and US will launch a ‘Green Shipping Corridor Task Force’, which aims to bring experts in the sector together to assist essential research and development to encourage acceleration of international zero-emission shipping routes. The international maritime sector currently creates nearly 3% of global emissions. If it was a country this would make it the country’s 8th largest emitter. – Bethan Alderson

Sweden’s new Trade Minister concerned over US electric car tax credit. Sweden has raised concerns over the United States’ new electric vehicle tax credits, similarly to France and Germany. The new Swedish trade Chief has said Stockholm will use its upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU to ‘improve’ transatlantic relations on the matter. The United States’ new law, the US Inflation Reduction Act, offers energy benefits and tax cuts for companies investing on US soil, creating incentives for US customers to ‘buy American’ when purchasing an eco-friendly car. The newly appointed trade minister, Johan Forssell, said that Stockholm shares the same concerns as Paris and Berlin surrounding the US Inflation Reduction Act and that the EU cannot remain idle to the new American measures, if the incentives do not change. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has suggested a ‘Buy European Act’ in retaliation to protect European regional carmakers. South Korea is seeking a three-year grace period on the act, so Korean automakers still receive EV incentives in the US. In a bilateral meeting with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, on Monday, Forsell said Sweden will aim to do ‘what we can to improve the relationships between the EU and the US. At the same time…there are some elements in the Inflation Reduction Act that are worrying, and they are not in accordance with WTO rules’. – Bethan Alderson

EVs energise new car market but chargepoint rollout must accelerate. Plug-in EVs account for 21.5% of new registrations (134,244 according to SMMT) in October 2022. Hybrid and BEVs (battery electric vehicles) drive this boost but infrastructure rollout risks are set to hinder the government’s zero-emission ambition. In the year market outlook for 2022, EVs have accounted for 1 in 3 registrations, 21.5% coming with a plug, yet such an uplift in growth calls for a simultaneous increase in public chargepoint provision. So far, 1239 rapid chargers and 5023 plug-in standard chargers have been installed this year. However, the figure of 249,575 new plug-in registrations in the last 9 months means that only one new public charger per every 50 new plug-in EV registrations has been supplied. In comparison, frontrunner Norway has a public charger per every 34 plug-in EVs in the country. As it stands, it is unlikely that the government’s ambition for 300,000 public chargers by 2030 will be met, further factors like supply chain shortages, surging inflation and the cost-of-living crisis continuing to lessen its likelihood. SMMT Chief Executive says consumers need to be given “economic stability and confidence to make the switch” to EVs, as we look forward to the government’s autumn statement. November 17th provides an opportunity to stimulate further net-zero progress through the mitigation of energy costs to encourage public investment in EVs. Additionally, the government will need to increase their commitment to chargepoint provision, as in order to keep up with demand, SMMT advises that 2.3 million charging points will be needed by 2030.  – Josie Waddington 

EU Commissioner for Transport speaks on the comparative costs of EV and conventional diesel or petrol vehicles. While EVs are more expensive to purchase than standard vehicles,  averaging around €56,000, the initial purchase price could, historically, be offset by lower maintenance and operating costs. The recent spike in energy prices, increasing from €22.0 per 100 kWh in 2021 to €25.3 per 100 kWh in 2022, has called into question the long-term attractiveness of EVs for consumers and policy-makers. However, Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad analyses ways to counter this, such as the slow recharging of EVs at home/work being considerably less expensive than ultra-fast highway chargers. Furthermore, many urban public recharge points also offer a fixed rate determined by means of public tender, meaning the impact of rising electricity prices will have a limited impact on EV drivers. Whilst the contribution that electric mobility will make in the overall transition to sustainable and smart mobility is unquestionable, the Commission is working on further emergency measures to address rising electricity prices, says Ms Vălean. An October 2022 proposal includes an EU action plan to digitalise the energy system, to speed up the use of digital tools such as smart metres and including EVs, which will help customers save on their energy bills and contribute to ending EU dependence on imported Russian fossil fuels. – Charlotte Goldstone