In Europe the transport sector contributes about 25% of total GHG emissions, 75% of which come from road transport. Contrarily to industrial emissions road emissions have increased over the period 1990-2015. This calls for major programs to reduce the corresponding GHG emissions in order to achieve the global GHG targets for 2050. The benefits from these programs will spread out to non OECD countries in which road emissions are bound to increase. Programs to promote zero emissions vehicles (ZEV) effectively started in the 2000’s through public private partnerships involving government agencies, manufacturers, utilities and fuel companies.
These partnerships provided subsidies for R&D, pilot programs and infrastructure. Moreover, technical norms for emissions, global requirements for the portfolio of sales for manufacturers, rebates on the purchasing price for customers as well as various perks (driving bus lanes, free parking, etc.) are now in place. These multiple policy instruments constitute powerful incentives to orient the strategies of manufacturers and to stimulate the demand for ZEV. BEV is leading the game with a cheaper infrastructure investment cost and a lower cost for vehicle. The relatively low autonomy makes BEV mostly suited for urban use, which is a large segment of the road market. The developments and efficiency gains in battery technology along with subsidies for battery charging public stations are expected to facilitate the achievement of the growth.
FCEV is still in an early deployment stage due to a higher infrastructure investment cost and a higher cost for vehicle. The relatively high autonomy combined with speed refuelling make FCEV mostly suited for long distance and interurban usage. The financing of the H2 infrastructure appears as a bottleneck for FCEV deployment. Roadmaps address this issue through progressive geographical expansion (clusters) and a high level of public subsidies hydrogen refuelling station (HRS) in particular in all countries except France. At this stage of BEV and FCEV do not appear as direct competitors; they address distinct market segments.