The European Commission is taking measures to speed up deployment of low- and zero-emission vehicles and alternative energy sources.

The commission just released its “European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility” to move towards low- and zero-emission vehicles. It also embraces deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport including advanced biofuels, renewable electricity, and renewable synthetic fuels, and towards removing obstacles to the electrification of mobility.

The European Commission defines low-emission cars as those that emit no more than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer, which includes all-electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and some of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles sold on the European market. For comparison, the new fourth generation Toyota Prius hybrid misses the mark by 40 percent, as it emits 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

The European Commission intends to guide European Union member nations towards zero-emission mobility and also improve efficiency of the transport system. The commission would like to see conventional internal combustion engines to be further reduced after 2020, with zero- and low-emission vehicles gaining market share.

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The commission sees EU member city and local authorities as being crucial for accomplishing the strategy. Several governments are already implementing incentives for low-emission alternative energies and vehicles; encouraging a modal shift to alternatives such as cycling, walking, and public transport; and shared mobility schemes, such as bikes, carsharing, and carpooling, to reduce congestion and pollution.

Along with environmental gains, the commission sees the strategy as supporting jobs and economic growth, investments, and innovations. Research and innovation in low-emissions mobility solutions will support future investment decisions, the commission says.

The strategy draws on existing mechanisms and funds. Several projects area already in the pipeline for funding under the European Fund for Strategic Investment. In addition, 70 billion euros ($76.9 billion) is available for transport under the European Structural and Investment Fund, including 39 billion euros ($42.8 billion) for supporting the move towards low-emission mobility according to the commission.

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