E-mobility info E-Mobility Infrastructure

The progressive increase in city traffic congestion and the worsening of air quality in big cities, has driven many local administrations to intervene incisively in order to put a stop to these problems. Let’s look at how local planning activities fit into the European and national regulatory environment

The European Community is active in the field of sustainable mobility, focusing mainly on:

• improvement of fuel quality;

• differentiation of energy sources used in the transport sector;

• improvement of emissions standards and the promotion of appropriate action.

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have recognised that in order to improve energy efficiency and energy savings, appropriate strategies need to be adopted within the transport sector such as to address energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, this article summarises the European and national regulatory context within which the local planning activity must be inserted. With particular reference to the policy aspects contained in Directive 2014/94/EU regarding the creation of an alternative fuel infrastructure for sustainable mobility and their transposition at a national level.


The energy consumption associated with the mobility sector represents a significant share of the European, national and regional energy balance and contributes, through emissions, to climate change. Below is a brief outline of the regulatory programmes governing the  state of e-mobility at a global, European and European Member State level.

Kyoto Protocol – this is the international environmental treaty on global warming, an international agreement to combat global warming, signed in December 1997 during the Conference of the Parties in Kyoto (COP3) but only in force in since February 2005. The Kyoto Protocol committed the signatory countries to a quantitative reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions compared to their 1990 emission levels (baseline), in percentages that differ from country to country.

Bali Action Plan, COP 15 and COP 21 – After the Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005, a broader vision was established, framed in the Bali Action Plan of 2007 and validated in 2009 at COP 15 in Copenhagen, which established the objective to limit global warming and the necessity for a common commitment, albeit differentiated between more developed and less advanced countries.  These efforts demonstrate an evolution in carbon management policies formalised at the recent COP 21 in Paris, from which it is clear that one of the first sectors of eco-sustainable development upon which to concentrate efforts is that of transport. With reference to these global scenarios, the European Union is the main supporter of the Kyoto Protocol and responded with a concrete expression to this commitment in the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP), then launching Climate Action, managed by a Directorate-General created ad hoc and separate from the Environment Directorate-General.

EUROPE 2020 – The European Community’s commitment was reflected in the “Europe 2020” strategy, which outlines the path towards intelligent and sustainable growth and is based on ambitious objectives regarding climate change and energy. With regard to the latter, the EU has defined the reduction by 20% of climate-altering gas emissions compared to 1990 values as a priority objective. It proposes to achieve these targets through the mutually reinforcing combination of energy production from renewable sources, efficiency and energy saving. The transport sector is therefore considered strategic, with cities set as the starting point for achieving the goal of transformation into an exceptionally low-carbon economy. In addition, considering the close connection of the mobility systems, the EU has specified in the Directive 2009/28/EC regarding the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, that all Member States have the common obligation to meet the 10% target for energy consumption from renewable energy sources for the transport sector by 2020.

TRANSPORT 2050 – The European objectives, in view of sustainable mobility development, have been updated with the guideline document “Transport 2050”, which, in line with the “Energy Roadmap 2050”, defines a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions within the transport sector compared to 1990 values and sets the objective of excluding conventionally fuelled cars in cities. The elimination of conventionally fuelled cars in urban transport was precisely the objective set out in the “White Paper, Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system” COM (2011) 144 of 28 March 2011, regarding sustainable mobility. The aim of the European Commission is to build a modern and competitive transport system, stimulating economic growth and employment, reducing Europe's dependence on oil and cutting CO² emissions. Forty realistic initiatives are proposed, which can be divided into three areas of action:

• to create an efficient and integrated transport network,

• to stimulate the development of innovative and sustainable technologies and behaviour models, and

• to raise the funds for the necessary structural improvements.

Within Europe, where urban mobility is important in both environmental and economic terms, the European Commission has drafted an Action Plan concerning Urban Mobility which proposes to establish a common framework to promote the development of mobility policies. Aware that this issue is of regional and local relevance, the European Union, through this instrument, intends to encourage the various authorities (local, regional and national) to implement long-term integrated policies that will contribute to more sustainable urban mobility and be more adapted to the needs of citizens.

The Urban Mobility Action Plan offers interesting pointers. One of the most important is the introduction of an urban mobility dimension into the Covenant of Mayors, in view of correlating mobility, its energy consumption and climate-altering impacts.

AFID – From a regulatory point of view and relevant to the subject of these Guidelines, is the Directive 2014/94/EU, of 22 October 2014, also known as AFID (Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive), that sets out a series of measures for the creation of an infrastructure for alternative fuels, to reduce dependence on petrol to a minimum and to mitigate the environmental impact within the transport sector. The Directive defines alternative fuels as; electricity, hydrogen, biofuels, synthetic and paraffinic fuels, and natural gas including biomethane. This Directive therefore plays a very important role in the regulatory landscape, as it establishes, for the first time, some of the basic technical requirements that go into making the charging infrastructure interoperable at a European level, as well as defining some duties and objectives in terms of planning and infrastructure for the member states. According to and verified by the regulation, electricity is a clean energy vector, the use of electricity as an alternative fuel can increase the efficiency of road vehicles, contribute to the reduction of CO² emissions and generate benefits in terms of improving air quality and reducing noise pollution, particularly in urban/suburban agglomerations and densely populated areas. 

Pietro Farinati

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