Preparing for the advent of low carbon motoring in small, open economies

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Berlin (2010)


elctric vehicles, hybrids, low carbon vehicles, policy


Road based transport currently accounts for approximately 10 per cent of CO2 emissions globally, with obvious repercussions for health. On a wider scale such emissions are major contributors to global warming and accelerators of climate change and the reduction of these emissions has become a priority for governments worldwide. To this end legislation has been introduced in order to encourage transport users to fundamentally change their modes of transport away from traditional vehicles utilising internal combustion engines (ICE) toward a range of alternatively fuel sourced vehicles with near zero emissions and a low carbon footprint. Important too has been the preparations by respective governments to put in place supporting infrastructure and services for alternative fuel sourced vehicles. The move toward Low Carbon Vehicles and alternative fuel sourced transport is particularly important in small, open economies such as Ireland, Denmark and Israel. The aim of this paper is to compare the relative preparedness of these nations for the widespread advent of Low Carbon Motoring, in particular hybrid and electric vehicles. For example in Israel, a small economy ideally suited to a market for, electric cars, as well as companies building electric car charging stations, the plan is to build 500,000 electric car charging stations throughout the country. At some of these stations, attendants will swap out depleted batteries and put in fully charged ones. Denmark has stolen a march on its European competitors in the electric car race. The leading Danish power company, DONG energy Secure, has partnered with a California company, Better Place, to build a nationwide grid to support electric cars, composed of thousands of charging poles. It is supported in its endeavours by the Danish government which last year promised not to impose the normal vehicle registration tax on electric cars until 2012 - a tax break of at least $40,000 for early buyers - and to provide drivers with free parking in downtown Copenhagen. In contrast, the case for Ireland is less clear with currently no plans being put in place for infrastructural improvements, supporting services of government policy to encourage buyers, beyond the normal punitive taxes on fuel inefficient vehicles. It is the aim of this paper to consider these three cases, compare and contrast preparations for the move toward electric and hybrid vehicles in the respective country and finally make commentary on the potential market growth that could occur should initiatives undertaken to encourage low carbon motoring be realised.

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