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Introducing greener cars on our roads

Green alternatives to conventional cars are needed fast – for the sake of the environment, and the health of the European economy. But a lot more innovation is needed to make greener cars ready for mass production. To speed things up and encourage cost-sharing, the European Commission is promoting cooperation at every stage – often between commercial rivals.


A small range, high cost and a lack of flexibility still stand in the way of mass acceptance of a new generation of greener cars, as is illustrated by this clipexternal link shot at the International Motor Show in Frankfurtexternal link by German television channel ARD.

The European Green Cars Initiative is a public private partnership, through which the Commission is spurring the development of green cars, not just in Germany but in all European countries, by:

  • encouraging cooperation and exchange of information between car-manufacturers, ITC developers, researchers, energy companies (who will supply the infrastructure for electric cars) and government (which supplies funding and coordinates standards)
  • getting everyone to agree on a common agenda – the multi-annual roadmap

Projects for progress

Around 50 projects are already underway – to advance the technologies needed to make electric vehicles widely available on the market. Since its launch in 2008, the initiative has already contributed to progress towards a new generation of vehicles and faster-charging batteries with a longer driving range.


Electric vehicles are widely seen as the most serious alternative to fossil-fuel based road transport. All major car manufacturers are developing electric car prototypes. Countries like France, Germany, China and the USA have defined ambitious targets for the introduction of electric cars. In China, for example, 50% of new cars should be electric by 2020.

Moving on from fossil fuels

The drive to develop commercially viable electric cars is motivated by Europe's ambitions to:

  • reduce Europe's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels for passenger and freight transport – at a time when oil is becoming scarcer
  • cut greenhouse-gas emissions – fossil-fuel powered transport accounts for a quarter of the total
  • help the European automotive industry to maintain its technology edge.