Agreement on a package of measures to ensure the build-up of alternative fuel stations across Europe with common standards for their design and use has been reached.

The agreement was reached in ‘trilogue’ negotiations between the European Parliament, European Commission and representatives of member states. It must be formally approved by a plenary sitting of the European Parliament and member states in council.

European transport commissioner, vice president Siim Kallas, said: “This agreement maps out a clear future for clean transport across Europe. It is a major innovation and a milestone towards meeting our commitment to reduce European transport’s overdependence on oil and developing a transport system fit for the 21st century.”

The Clean Power for Transport Package consists of a communication on a European alternative fuels strategy, and a directive focusing on infrastructure and standards.

The main measures agreed are:

  • Minimum levels of infrastructure across the EU. A requirement on member States to submit to the commission national plans for minimum levels of infrastructure to be in place by 2020 for electric vehicles and for compressed natural gas (CNG) in urban areas. The targets will be published by the commission. There is a review clause in the directive to allow the commission to assess if national targets are sufficient to deliver a critical mass of infrastructure or if mandatory targets agreed at EU level – as had been originally proposed by the commission - will be needed.
  • EU wide standards for the infrastructure. The agreement requires the development of EU wide standards for clean fuels. The EC says this will end the uncertainty that has been holding back business and consumers. It means standardised plugs for electric vehicles and standardised refuelling equipment – refuelling and recharging equipment - for hydrogen and natural gas as well as future standards for wireless recharging points, battery swapping technology and standardised plugs for buses and motorcycles.
  • Clear consumer information to facilitate use - including on the charging and refuelling points themselves, as well as comparison of prices for the different alternative and conventional fuels based on a methodology developed by the Commission.