Comparing European Member State Electric Vehicle Uptake Incentives and Charging Infrastructure Provision



Comparing European Member State Electric Vehicle Uptake Incentives and Charging Infrastructure Provision

Authors

Gillian Harrison, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy and Transport, Christian Thiel, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy and Transport

Description

A complex system dynamics model of the EU light duty vehicle sector has been employed to assess policy options for powertrain technology transitions focusing on passenger cars and electric-mobility.

Abstract

A complex system dynamics model of the EU light duty vehicle sector has been employed to assess policy options for electric (e) - mobility. The focus in this research is on passenger cars, and investigating the implications for individual member states, who are currently tasked with designing national uptake incentives and policy frameworks for alternative fuels and their infrastructure. The model encompasses the market agents of User, Automobile Manufacturer, Infrastructure Provider and Authorities, capturing many important feedbacks and interactions over the period 1995 to 2050. To our knowledge, this is the most extensive model that captures and integrates these elements. It is particularly sophisticated as it captures consumer "willingness to consider" different powertrain technologies, with a specific focus on e-mobility, based on their awareness of that technology from social interaction and cognitive and emotional behaviour. Moreover, the model mimics the customer's choice of a powertrain based on their preferences and the technical attributes of the powertrain itself, which develop over time in relation to manufacturer targets.

The research presented here firstly looks at two case study member states that have been most successful in electric vehicle (EV) uptake, Netherlands and UK. Our model is substantially calibrated to historical data for key parameters such as vehicle demand and component costs. However, as the EV market is still in in its infancy with many differing policies to account for, it is difficult to accurately replicate. As such, in order to understand the actual impact of policies and how the market numbers of the initial years are achieved, it is necessary to manually perform iterative model testing to obtain a more realistic model scenario that closely matches reality. We attempt to replicate the case study policy conditions within our model, and then employ these in other member states in order to gain policy insights for both individual member states and at EU level. We find that policies are sensitive to individual country conditions, and outline how this can be exploited by policy-makers.

Focus then turns to the provision of infrastructure, with the recent Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure in mind. Previous research using this model has identified at an EU level that subsidising infrastructure provision, if not accompanied by other policy measures, has a weak correlation with e-mobility uptake in the early market and suggested that a ratio below the EC recommended 10 EV per charge point may lead to unnecessary costs. Although there is an increasing body of work attempting to understand the spatial deployment of charging infrastructure, there is little that simply asks how much. This paper expands on the previous work by concentrating on individual member states and establishing what differences may exist between them, and how targeted member state policies may impact on overall EU EV uptake. Our focus on infrastructure provides a timely contribution to the debate on the so called "chicken and egg" problem that is thought to exist between electric mobility and charging infrastructure, due to the interactions this model captures between the effective infrastructure, customer willingness to consider and powertrain choice. This research supports the EU desire for a significant move away from conventionally fuelled vehicles in order to achieve ambitious emission reduction targets. Regulations and policies aimed at all market agents are important in achieving this, as are those tailored to the needs of individual member states. The model and findings presented here may be useful to manufacturers, infrastructure providers and authorities involved in business strategy and policy design.

Publisher

Association for European Transport