A bumpy ride for the electric future
The transport sector has been on the receiving end of environmental wrath for quite some time now, having been responsible for over 25% of CO2 emissions in the EU alone. To tackle this, the sector is becoming more and more electric.
Nevertheless, the transition to e-mobility is a highly complex issue. For starters, there is the chicken-or-egg situation about whether to begin by building the necessary charging infrastructure or, instead, to place more of a stress on encouraging people to buy the cars first and deal with flat-battery anxiety after. Secondly, electric cars are still very expensive and not everyone has the budget for them. And finally, who should be addressing these issues? The private sector or the government?
In the Netherlands – a country at the cutting edge of e-mobility – all the stakeholders have joined forces. The Dutch government has engaged heavily in public-private-partnerships (PPPs) to set up an extensive charging network, so the mileage issue is less worrying. On top of that, the Netherlands has introduced numerous financial incentives in a bid to encourage the public to choose electric vehicles over conventional cars.
In contrast, in the Czech Republic, the roll-out of e-mobility has so far been limited to the private sector. Charging points tend to be installed by private companies, but construction has been sluggish (a recent estimate indicates that, by 2025, the country might find itself short of some 3,000 charging stations). Plus there’s the fact that financial incentives for citizens are still up in the clouds (prime minister Babiš recently said, for example, that the government would not be giving ordinary citizens any impetus, but would continue offering incentives to businesses).
Given its long automotive history, the Czech Republic could yet become an e-mobility heavyweight, but it needs to learn that the cooperation of all stakeholders is necessary if the transport sector is to be truly electrified.