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CEE countries sign COP26 zero-emission transport declaration

Croatia, Poland, Lithuania and Slovenia are among the countries that signed the COP26 declaration on accelerating the transition to 100 per cent zero-emission cars and vans together with cities, regional governments, businesses and other stakeholders from around the world that influence the automotive industry and road transport.

As the parties signed this legally non-binding declaration, they pledged to commit to incentivising sales of new cars and vans with zero-emission globally by 2040 and by 2035 in leading markets. They also welcomed the strong policy and investments into research, manufacturing, infrastructure, development assistance and effort to address the full value chain impacts from vehicle production, use and disposal.

Aleksander Rajch, the Director of External Affairs of the Polish Alternative Fuels Association (PSPA) views this declaration as a step in the right direction but believes that a more elaborated approach is needed to ensure the implementation of the commitments made.

According to him, the problem is in “the current tendency wherein [CEE region] markets usually are the recipients of old and used ICE vehicles from western and northern European countries.”

Mr Rajch tells CEENERGYNEWS that in Poland, “from the early 2000’s until now, nearly 16 million old vehicles were imported, with the current car park of the country being at 20 million. The average age of used vehicles in Poland nears 14 years. Consequently, it’s very positive to see another international commitment to drive e-mobility further, but yet again, the need to quickly and effectively address the challenges of the CEE markets in relation to sustainable transport becomes apparent and urgent.”

Furthermore, as the segment of passenger and delivery electric vehicles is the fastest-growing in Poland, expected to reach close to 300,000 by 2025 “the challenge remains for the public transportation and long-haul heavy transport, which both just for Poland represent 20 per cent of the entire EU fleet. Both of these segments are also mostly reliant on Diesel technologies and are highly polluting.”

“The issue is therefore much wider and despite the fact, that the Declaration hints this, the tools and ideas for the acceleration of zero-emission transport should be more comprehensive, far-reaching and reflect an awareness of the challenges of such markets, as those of the CEE, Poland included”, Mr Rajch emphasises.

In 2020, electric vehicles accounted for 1.5 per cent of all new car registrations in Poland and the country became home to about 11,000 electric variants in total.

Another signatory country, Croatia has around 1,500 electric cars currently but could reach more than one-third of the country’s vehicle fleet by the year 2050.

In Slovenia, the number of passenger cars on electric drive increased by 84 per cent to 3,670 in 2020 which is 0.3 per cente of all registered passenger cars.

Finally, Lithuania’s electric vehicle fleet counted 661 registered cars in 2018.

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