Electric car sales are up in Europe, and a proposed initiative could make it even more convenient to own one within the next few years. The draft EU directive would require every new or refurbished house in Europe to be equipped with its own EV charger and, if approved, would go into effect by 2019. Car makers are also stepping up to help with the bigger picture by turning used EV batteries into renewable energy power stations to offset the additional demand EVs will place on the electricity grid.
As Germany moves closer to solidifying its plans to ban new registrations on combustion engine passenger vehicles beginning in 2030, the nation’s Federal Council has asked the European Commission to enact a similar measure across the EU. German policy has a long history of setting the tone for broader EU policies, and with the lofty emissions reductions goals set forth in the Paris climate agreement adding pressure, many think the European Commission will devise a similar ban. This is just one aspect of a broader effort to promote EV purchases and make it easier for consumers to make the switch.
Additionally, the EU regulations (due to be published by year’s end) will require 10 percent of parking spaces in newly constructed buildings to install EV charging stations by 2023. These early measures are designed to create a stable infrastructure throughout the EU zone that supports and promotes EV ownership. As countries like Norway and the Netherlands aim to ban diesel engines as soon as 2025, EU leaders realize that people need incentives to get on board with cleaner vehicles, and the convenience of plentiful recharging stations is a large component of that.
Installing so many new EV chargers could put an additional strain on the electricity grid, but some European carmakers like Renault and BMW are already working on clever solutions. Renault is working with energy companies to develop plans for a power plant that makes use of used vehicle batteries, which are too weak to rely on for transportation but can be grouped together and charged up from onsite wind and solar power generators. The electricity is then sold back to the grid during peak times, contributing clean, renewable energy (and providing a second-life use for old EV batteries at the same time). BMW, partnering with engineering manufacturer Bosch, recently opened a similar power station near Hamburg that is composed of 2,600 used EV batteries and has a 2MW output.
Via The Guardian