Coincidentally, this agreement came a few hours before the final approval by the Energy Ministers of the Twenty-Seven of the end of combustion engines in new cars from 2035, a key text of the EU's climate plan.

The compromise reached between negotiators from the Council (the body representing the Member States) and the European Parliament sets each country mandatory minimum targets for the infrastructure needed to develop zero-emission vehicles, running on electricity or hydrogen.

By 2026, electric charging stations for cars (with an output of at least 400 kW) will have to be installed every 60 km on all major motorways in the EU – an obligation extended to secondary motorways by 2030.

Also by 2026, more powerful stations (from 1,400 kW to 2,800 kW depending on the road) will have to be planned every 120 km for trucks and buses on the main motorways, with increased power in the following years.

Finally, by 2031, hydrogen refuelling stations will have to be installed every 200 km on major roads.

Motorists "must have the possibility to pay easily at charging or refueling points" where the price charged must be "reasonable, easily and clearly comparable, transparent," said the Parliament in a statement.

The law provides for derogations for "very low traffic" roads, outermost regions and islands.

'Concrete progress'

"The new rules will allow infrastructure for +alternative fuels+ to be deployed without further delay, making it as simple and convenient to drive and charge a new generation car as a petrol car," commented Socialist MEP Ismail Ertug, rapporteur of the text.

"This is an essential building block for the transition to zero-emission mobility," said Pascal Canfin MEP (Renew, Liberals), chair of the Environment Committee.

The NGO Transport & Environment welcomed "a concrete step forward to put an end to the anxiety of charging", since States "will be legally required to mass infrastructure as electric cars are put into circulation".

Beyond road transport, the text sets infrastructure obligations for trains when the electrification of lines proves technically impossible, while European ports will, from 2030, have to allow container ships and cruise ships to connect to shore to run on electricity.

© 2023 AFP