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28 February 2018

Low-carbon mobility: What coherence between the french mobility orientation bill and the european “clean mobility” package ?


Today, greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector account for almost a quarter of European emissions. At the local level, air pollution, a problem that European cities are increasingly tackling, is responsible for 400,000 premature deaths per year[1]. Some other health consequences due to the transport sector, such as noise, are also often neglected[2]. Now more than ever, Europe must resolve this triple equation in order to reconcile mobility and environment when revising the Transport Regulations and Directives. At the same time, in France, the Mobility Forum (“Assises de la Mobilité”) has given way to the preparation of the Framework Bill on Mobility. As national and European issues are similar, solutions must complement each other. That is why national and European legislative work must therefore be carried out simultaneously in a spirit of integration.

Nicolas Hulot’s announcement regarding the end of combustion vehicles sales by 2040 requires, among other things, the availability of cost-efficient and competitive alternative solutions. The transformation of supply requires a profound paradigm shift in the automotive industry.

Low-carbon mobility will not develop for the national market alone

The major R&D and transformation investments required for this adaptation will not be carried out by the French market alone. This is why Europe’s signals for low-carbon mobility must be strong. In particular, the CO2 emission reduction targets for transport must be consistent with the ambition of carbon neutrality by 2050, which is currently not the case in the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on CO2 standards. France must therefore uphold its ambitions of decarbonised mobility at the European level.

Demand must be stimulated jointly at national and European level

Since good public policy must act on both supply and demand, France has put in place measures to incentivise the acquisition of low-carbon vehicles (acquisition bonus, quotas in the renewal of public fleets, etc.). While the European Commission is also proposing the introduction of quotas in public fleet renewals for each Member State, these are very disappointing since the proposed levels are lower than the market forecasts and the legally binding targets already in force in France. UFE recommends at least doubling these quotas (i.e. an objective of acquiring clean vehicles by the French public authorities should set the target of acquiring 70% of clean vehicle in 2030), so that the public order is truly exemplary and draws the market upwards.

On the other hand, the European Commission proposes to correlate toll pricing with the level of CO2 and polluting emissions of vehicles. Vehicles with zero CO2 emissions would also benefit from a discount of at least 75% off the maximum price. The European Commission’s proposal also enables Member States to include other negative externalities in their pricing mechanisms (noise pollution, congestion, etc.). These Commission proposals must be integrated into national discussions on the Framework Bill on Mobility.

The development of charging point infrastructure must also be part of the European framework

Finally, a wide range of national considerations on low-carbon mobility relate to charging points infrastructure and their financing. The European network of electricity charging point infrastructures, which has a collective interest for the society but which is not necessarily profitable from a private point of view, must be encouraged by dedicated funding. Europe and France must therefore support cities and local communities in their mobility ambitions. The Commission’s proposal to earmark revenues from certain tolls towards financing alternative infrastructure represents a very interesting and virtuous path for the sustainable development of low-carbon mobility.

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The Union of the French Electricity Industry is the trade association of the French electricity sector. We bring together companies from the whole value chain of the electricity industry.

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