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Green Deal and EU Transport Strategy

In December 2019, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, a comprehensive modernisation strategy, which aims to evolve the regulatory framework for climate change policy as well as measures in numerous other policy areas.

In December 2020, the European Commission presented a Transport Strategy as part of the Green Deal, which specifies the targets for the transport sector. The focus of the strategy lies on greening transport and on the digital transformation of mobility, both of which are considered as indispensable drivers for the modernisation of the entire system. Furthermore, the strategy addresses the lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis and the future resilience of the sector. It comprises, inter alia, 82 measures that are to be proposed by 2023. The announced proposals include, among other things, expanding the trading of emissions, amending the Effort-Sharing Regulation as well as increasing CO2 target values for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure supports priorities of the Green Deal and the Transport Strategy, namely to make European transport more sustainable, intelligent and resilient, while lobbying to ensure that mobility remains affordable and Europe’s position as a centre for mobility is sustained.

Fleet-wide targets for passenger cars and HGVs

The European fleet-wide targets affect the ramp-up of zero- and low-emission vehicles and have an influence on improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines. They provide for a reduction of passenger car emissions (by 15 % and 37.5 % from 2025 and 2030 respectively, compared to 2020), light commercial vehicles (by 15 % and 31 % from 2025 and 2030 respectively, compared to 2021) and heavy-duty vehicles (by 15 % and 30 % from 2025 and 2030 respectively, compared to 2019/20) (Regulation (EU) 2019/631 and Regulation (EU) 2019/1242). For 2021, the European Commission has announced a revision of the CO2 target values for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

Recast of the Clean Vehicles Directive

The Clean Vehicles Directives (Directive (EU) 2019/1161)sets the first binding minimum rates for the public procurement of low-emission and emission-free passenger cars as well as light commercial vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles, inter alia buses used in local public transport. The objective is to improve air quality and reduce emissions in the transport sector. In this context, public procurement agencies make an important contribution to reducing CO2 and air pollutant emissions in the transport sector. The requirements are to apply from 2 August 2021.

Further information can be found here (in German only).

AFID – charging and refuelling infrastructure

Directive 2014/94/EU on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure ( Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive – AFID (in German only)) is an essential instrument of the European Commission to deploy a public charging and refuelling infrastructure for alternative fuels.

Within the context of AFID, the member states are obliged to set themselves targets for the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure. The overarching objective of AFID is to guarantee interoperability of fuel infrastructures in the internal market.

As part of the European Commission's “Fit For 55” Package, a proposal on the revision of the directive will probably be presented in the summer of 2021. The objective of the revision will be, among other things, to ensure a coherent deployment of refuelling and charging infrastructure across Europe that is consistent with demand.

One part of the deployment of AFID is the national policy framework (in German only). In this context, the Federal government is examining different implementation paths. This also refers to cross-border availability of hydrogen refuelling stations. Within the framework of the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme, an infrastructure encompassing nearly 100 hydrogen refuelling stations (in German only) was developed in Germany. This infrastructure has to be supplemented across national borders. Refuelling infrastructure with a European cross-border dimension is also one of the three key topics in the mobility part of the national Expression of Interest Procedure on hydrogen IPCEI (in German only).

EU Hydrogen Strategy; Clean Hydrogen Partnership

In July 2020, the European Commission adopted the EU Strategy for Energy System Integration and the Hydrogen Strategy. The aim is to create a ramp-up for a hydrogen value chain based on hydrogen from renewable energy sources. Another focus is the price competition with hydrogen from fossil fuels. Capacities for electrolysis of at least 6 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen are to be developed by 2024 and of 40 gigawatts by 2030. The Clean Hydrogen Partnership is to contribute to achieving the EU Hydrogen Strategy targets. The Partnership mainly focuses on the generation, distribution and storage of clean hydrogen and on supplying sectors that are difficult to decarbonise, such as heavy industries and heavy loads transport. The European Union supports the Partnership with around 1 billion euros. The Federal Government is integrated in this process as part of the States’ Representatives Group (SRG).

ECH2A

In July 2020, the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance was founded as a European platform for hydrogen projects, with the European Commission chairing the administrative board. ECH2A aims at bringing together representatives of companies, governments and civil society to accelerate the deployment of a climate-neutral hydrogen economy in Europe. It already has more than 800 members. The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has joined ECH2A. The mobility sector is represented at the “Clean Hydrogen for mobility” round table of ECH2A by NOW GmbH. The activities of ECH2A are closely connected with the funding scheme for European hydrogen projects within the framework of Important Projects of Common European Interest (in German only).

Hydrogen IPCEI

In the framework of the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI), - hydrogen technologies and systems - with EFTA state Norway and 21 other EU Member States, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy have examined more than 200 project outlines, out of which nearly 60 are from the transport sector (in German only). 62 large-scale hydrogen projects have been selected for the next stage, out of which 12 are from the transport sector.

The objective is to support the development of integrated processes along the hydrogen value chain and develop a functioning European hydrogen market. The collaborative international projects to be funded with 8 billion euros by federal government departments and the federal states are to range from production over infrastructure to the first industrial use. In the transport sector, they affect the development and production of fuel cells, components and hydrogen vehicles as well as the deployment of refuelling infrastructure. Together with their spill-over effects, the best project ideas will probably push the use of climate-friendly hydrogen in mobility and industry forward and thus contribute considerably to protecting the environment and mitigating climate change. The content of the funding will be determined by the principles of the National Hydrogen Strategy (in German only). After a European matchmaking session aiming to interconnect projects even further, a review by the European Commission will take place. Once the compatibility with EU state aid law in accordance with Art. 107(3)(B) TFEU is confirmed, the approval decisions are expected to be issued from the first quarter of 2022.