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Consumers need more transparency on electric vehicles, says new FIA Declaration


19 May 2011


Health & Consumers

Thursday 19th May

Estoril, Portugal

More transparency for consumers on the benefits of electric vehicles was one of the key demands of a declaration agreed upon by the 71 European motoring and touring clubs of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), which represents 35 million consumers. The declaration was adopted on 18 May 2011 at the annual FIA International Club Conference in Estoril, Portugal.

Werner Kraus, President of FIA Region I, said “While supporting the push towards electric vehicles, our clubs are calling for greater transparency and consistency in the carbon rating of plug-in vehicles. Current pressures to present Battery Electric Vehicles as “zero emission” vehicles are misleading for consumers.”

He added “Electric vehicles are one of many alternative ways to reduce CO2 emissions and sustain mobility, in particular in an urban context. No low carbon technology should be favoured over another”.

The declaration says that the role of the institutions - European, national and local - is crucial to create a clear vision and a more integrated framework for electric vehicles:

• Leading by example with green procurement procedures;

• Introducing the correct package of incentives to stimulate specific uses of vehicles;

• Integrating transport policy with urban planning, energy supply and public services; and;

• Promoting labelling systems.

President Kraus concluded by stressing the importance of consumer outreach, saying “Raising awareness is key. More has to be done to explain to consumers the benefits of new low-carbon technologies.”

The full text of the declaration is available below.

Note for Editors


The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) is a worldwide federation of Motoring and Touring Clubs, bringing together some 220 member clubs in five continents. In the European Union, the FIA represents more than 35 million motoring consumers via its 71 member clubs. For more information, please go to


The European motoring and touring clubs, members of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), gathered in Estoril, Portugal, call for European, national and local institutions to work together to create a clear vision and a more integrated framework addressing the challenges ahead for electric vehicles.


 -The transport sector is 96% dependent on oil as well as one of the largest emitters of CO2, and the passenger car segment is required to make substantial improvements in its environmental efficiency;

- The European Union has set ambitious targets to reduce CO2 emissions and decarbonising transport is a core theme of the EU’s common transport policy;

- Pressure for climate mitigation, high oil prices and the availability of new technologies will pave the way for future innovation of transport;

- The electrification of transport can have an important role to play in this process (decreasing oil dependence, improving energy efficiency, potentially decreasing CO2 emissions); Automobile clubs underline that eco-driving skills should be fostered as they will play a key role in improving energy efficiency in the middle and long term;

- Electrification of transport is also a priority in the Community Research Programme: figuring prominently in the European Economic Recovery Plan presented in November 2008, within the framework of the Green Car Initiative.

The FIA motoring clubs recognise that:

- The purchase price of electric vehicles is still too high to favour a rapid market uptake of electric vehicles. Furthermore, total running costs have to be investigated and clearly presented to consumers: consumers will not automatically make the switch to electric vehicles as long as they see a financial disadvantage;

- The lack of a harmonised EU-wide suitable (regarding connectivity and payment systems) recharging infrastructure is limiting the potential of the eMobility sector. Standardisation bodies and industries need to agree on common standards and protocols for battery charging systems and arrangements, as well as for associated information and communication and accounting systems;

- The energy market has to offer open competition among different service providers and energy distributors and the deployment of electric vehicles has to be linked to the use of renewable energies and well-to-wheel performance;

- The role of the user is central already for market entry: they have to be fully informed on the different technologies available under the umbrella of eMobility (“Do these vehicles fit my lifestyle?”). One of the biggest challenges facing all stakeholders (manufacturers, distributors, media) is communication, education, and raising awareness.

Therefore, the clubs believe:

- Policies that support individual mobility according to the technology neutral principle have to be promoted. eMobility has the potential to be one of the mobility solutions available, in particular for urban mobility and for specific target groups already prepared to adopt such vehicles (car-sharing fleets, small size fleets which deliver goods in urban areas, public transport, second family cars, etc);

- R&D, in particular with regard to battery technologies, have to be further promoted with the object of reducing battery cost, improving battery capacity/mass performance, and reducing the longer term environmental impacts of raw materials and processing used for batteries;

- It is important to establish standards and specifications for battery charging arrangements and to set protocols to promote and sustain competition on the energy market and to prevent the emergence of monopolies;

- The European institutions should continue to provide financial support to green technologies that will propel our cars, trucks and buses in the near future. In this framework, demonstration projects are essential to increase the experience of consumers of electric and low-carbon vehicles;

- Transparency and consistency in the carbon rating of plug-in vehicles should be promoted, partly to counter commercial and political pressures to present Battery Electric Vehicles as “zero emission” vehicles;

- The role of the institutions - European, national and local - is crucial to create a clear vision and a more integrated framework: leading by example with green procurement procedures; introducing the correct package of incentives to stimulate specific uses of vehicles; integrating transport policy with urban planning, energy supply and public services; and promoting labelling systems.


Estoril, 18 May 2011


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