Czech Republic aims for nationwide vehicle charging points

European Commission gets in line behind a multi-million dollar effort to encourage greener transportation options.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Aug. 11, 2017 at 7:05 AM
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Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The European Commission said it was throwing its support behind a plan in the Czech Republic to make charging stations for alternative vehicles more accessible.

The European Commission found a Czech plan to spend $52 million over the next six years on building recharging and refueling stations for vehicles that run on electricity, natural gas or hydrogen across the country won't distort the market.

"The Czech scheme is yet another good example of how Member States can contribute to the fight against global warming," Margrethe Vestager, the commissioner in charge of competition policy, said in a statement. "The scheme will promote alternative fuels and reduce harmful car emissions, and will encourage consumers and businesses to use greener transportation, without distorting competition."

Czech leaders in June highlighted air quality as one of the country's top environmental priorities. For the broader region, the transportation sector accounts for about a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Europe aims for an "an irreversible shift to low-emission mobility" in an effort to abate pollution from the transportation sector. Norway leads Europe with deployment of electric vehicles, with about 100,000 on the road already.

The British and French governments this year said they'd work to phase out vehicles powered by conventional gas. In Germany, Dorothee Bär, the federal transport minister, said the government has set aside $355 million to help build tens of thousands of charging points on the nation's highway network.

On the low-end, the International Energy Agency estimates the number of electric vehicles on the road will at least quadruple globally by 2020, though cost remains a prohibiting factor to further deployment. Based on 2016 figures, they make up 0.2 percent of the total market.

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