The European Commission (EC) has set ambitious CO2 emission reduction objectives for the transport sector by 2050. In this context, most decarbonisation scenarios for transport foresee large market penetration of electric vehicles in 2030 and 2050. The emergence of electrified car mobility is, however, uncertain due to various barriers such as battery costs, range anxiety and dependence on battery recharging networks. Those barriers need to be addressed in the 2020–2030 decade, as this is key to achieving electrification at a large scale in the longer term. The paper explores the uncertainties prevailing in the first decade and the mix of policies to overcome the barriers by quantifying a series of sensitivity analysis scenarios of the evolution of the car markets in the EU Member States and the impacts of each barrier individually. The model used is PRIMES-TREMOVE, which has been developed by E3MLab and constitutes a detailed energy-economic model for the transport sector. Based on model results, the paper assesses the market, energy, emission and cost impacts of various CO2 car standards, infrastructure development plans with different geographic coverage and a range of battery cost reductions driven by learning and mass industrial production. The assessment draws on the comparison of 29 sensitivity scenarios for the EU, which show that removing the barriers in the decade 2020–2030 is important for electrification emergence. The results show that difficult policy dilemmas exist between adopting stringent standards and infrastructure of wide coverage to push technology and market development and adverse effects on costs, in case the high cost of batteries persists. However, if the pace of battery cost reductions is fast, a weak policy for standards and infrastructure is not cost-effective and sub-optimal. These policies are shown to have impacts on the competition between pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Drivers that facilitate electrification also favour the uptake of the former technology, the latter being a reasonable choice only in case the barriers persist and obstruct electrification.
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